The Covered Dish: Pear Honey


I can’t recall a more perfect day.  I slept in, drank my coffee and relaxed with a good book on the screened porch.  Amongst the covered chapters I got in a roast beef dinner and a couple loads of laundry.  Like many of you I’ve been embracing the beautiful fall days over the past week.  At work it’s time to greet the holiday season.  If that doesn’t put a person into gear to get things done for winter I don’t know what does!

This week I’m doing a bit of canning.  My good friend, Tammy, delivered enough organic pears to my front door that I can make a batch of pear honey.  Then my friends, Willis & Irene, from Minnesota, brought us Macintosh Apples so I can make some of Irene’s apple pie jam.  I can hardly wait to get started in the kitchen tomorrow.

My mother called a couple of weeks ago to find out if I had ever found any pears.  I told her I had not so she said she thought she had it covered.  Someone at her church had given her pears so she was going to make me a batch.  Have I got a surprise for her, now I get to make my own!  The pear honey will be utterly delicious this fall and winter over ice cream and on biscuits and toast.  Of all the dishes my grandmother, Lucy Richardson, made this was always my favorite.

In the early days I used to make this without the addition of the lemon zest.  Now I always include it in the honey because it just ‘lifts’ the flavor to higher zone.  As I always tell my students:  ‘Look for the ingredient that is going to make your dish set up and ‘sing’.”  Well, the lemon zest definitely does it for us here.

You’ll just love my measurement system with the ground pears.  For some the idea of 3 dinner plates of ground pears may sound a bit unusual.  But take my word for it this is truly the amount of ground pears.  As usual I will grind my pears in the antique grinder my parents gave me so many years ago.  Sure, I have a food processor, but the honey comes out just right when I grind it like Grandma did back in her day.  Though I lost my grandmother when I was only 9 years of age her influence in my life has continued.  Seems like the older we get the more we can see the impact our grandparents and parents have had in our lives.   I told a class just last week that I wish I could have given my son, Phillip, the upbringing on my grandparents farm that I had.

As our culture pushes forward it is so vital that we collect recipes and cherish the memories that connect the strands of our lives.  The time is ‘now’ to go over grandmother’s recipes.  Just this week I had a recipe given to me by a young lady from England.   She was born in Iowa and married a European and lived abroad for many years.  The recipe shared was a Christmas pudding.  She told me it took her 10 years to get her mother in law to divulge the recipe!  Wow, and now I get to try this treasured dish.

Start the organizing friends, though its warm, winter is very near.  Get the pantry stocked and ready for the cold weather.  Simply yours, The Covered Dish.

Grandma Lucy’s Pear Honey

Pears; cored, peeled and ground using a grinder or food processor

3 dinner plates of the ground pears

3 cans (20 oz. each), crushed pineapple, drained

4 pound bag of sugar plus 3 additional cups

(There are approx. 2 1/2 cups of sugar per pound of sugar)

3/4 teaspoon cinnamon

3/4 teaspoon ginger

Dash or two of salt

9 tablespoons lemon juice

Lemon Zest to taste

Put everything into a large stockpot and stir over medium heat until it boils gently for 20 minutes.  Allow the mixture to boil down and get rid of any unwanted juice.  You will find it thickens a bit more as it cools down.  Pack into sterilized jars and seal with a boiling water bath.  Yields approximately 12 pints.


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