Ideas for small hard pears?

2ajsmamaOctober 3, 2012

A neighbor gave me some very small (lemon-sized) hard pears - she says they don't soften up even when brought inside. Her tree is loaded, I suggested pruning and thinning next year to increase the fruit size, but if they don't soften when ripe, what can she do with them? Add apple juice and cook them down into pear butter, then put through food mill?

I was wondering if they could be peeled and preserved whole, or if they would still be hard.

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readinglady(z8 OR)

You might try cooking a couple to see if they soften up when heat is applied, but I had a friend give me some similar kinds of pears and they ended up compost.

I suppose even really hard pears could be ground and used in relish but I wasn't willing to extend that far and risk other ingredients.


    Bookmark   October 3, 2012 at 11:28AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Agree with Carol that they aren't worth any effort or time. Another example of "garbage in - garbage out".

But if you really want to expend the effort there are some 70 discussions here on things to do with pears.


    Bookmark   October 3, 2012 at 12:58PM
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My aunt sends hers thru the mehu liisa juicer and then makes pear jelly.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2012 at 1:02PM
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"My aunt sends hers thru the mehu liisa juicer and then makes pear jelly."

I did something like that one year, only we made wine.

Something else: Helen Witty has a recipe for pear honey that uses grated pears. I used it one year with very hard pears and it worked well. I'm not saying yours will soften, but you might try. I used a food processor to grate them, a cinch. If you're interested in the recipe, I'll gladly post it.


    Bookmark   October 3, 2012 at 1:37PM
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One more thing. If you're experienced using a pressure cooker, you might grate a single pear, and pressure cook it. You'd use a minimal amount of time and energy to determine if it'll soften.


    Bookmark   October 3, 2012 at 1:49PM
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I have a juicer, it's very noisy and hard to clean, don't know if I want to try it. Plus I'm not looking so much for something for ME to do with these pears, the neighbor gave me some to "experiment" with, but she wanted to know what SHE could do with them. I don't know if she has a juicer.

I didn't want to read through lots of pear threads finding recipes for ripe pears, was hoping someone had suggestions for what to go with these. I did search "hard pears" and found some suggestions for chilling and ripening. These have actually been in a plastic bag in my truck since Sat and haven't softened up. But I'll stick them in the fridge for a couple of days, pull them out this weekend and put in paper box in basement - maybe next week they'll be softer?

The pear honey does sound good, I would like that recipe. Thanks I don't have a pressure cooker.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2012 at 2:13PM
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Pear Honey, Helen Witty, Fancy Pantry

4 pounds pears, ripe but not soft.

Water as needed

3 Tablespoons strained fresh lemon juice

Grated zest (no white pith) of 1 lemon

6 cups sugar

1. Pare, quarter and core pears, dropping them into a bowl of cold water as they are finished.

2. Combine 6 cups of fresh water with the lemon juice in a preserving pan. shred or grate the pear sections medium-course; add the shreds to acidified water.

3. Combine the grated lemon zest with about a quart of water in a saucepan and bring to a boil; simmer 5 minutes; drain the zest and add it to the pear mixture.

4. Bring pear mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Gradually stir in the sugar; return the mixture to a boil. Adjust the heat and simmer the mixture, uncovered, stirring it from time to time, until the shreds of fruit are clear and the syrup has thickened, about 1 hour; toward the end of cooking, watch the mixture carefully and stir it often to prevent burning. The pear honey is thick enough when a small spoonful placed on a chilled saucer thickens to the consistancy of a soft preserve- not a stiff jam- when it's refrigerated for a few minutes; to prevent overcooking, set the pan off the heat while testing.

5. Ladle into hot, clean pint or half-pint jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Seal. Process 15 minutes for either size jar.

As I say, my pears were quite hard. Nevertheless, yours might not soften. I just hate throwning food away if it can be saved.

I do hope this works for you.


    Bookmark   October 3, 2012 at 2:38PM
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Thanks - she just hates to keep throwing them out. I don't know what happens to the ones she leaves on the trees - I assume they fall off when still hard (or so it seems) then eventually rot. The tree was loaded, apparently the squirrels don't even bother it.

I thought a "honey" recipe would be like a syrup, this seems to be a butter-type end result?

How do you core a pear (esp. a very small hard one)? And the ingredients say "water as needed" but directions say 6C of water - are the pears drained before cooking?

    Bookmark   October 3, 2012 at 2:55PM
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For coring a pear, a melon baller works pretty good, just cut the pear in half and scoop out the seed area. You may or may not choose to run a knife along the "strings".
For a very hard pear, perhaps a "clawed" strawberry huller, would work even better.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2012 at 3:09PM
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Thanks - I may have to treat these like quinces LOL!

    Bookmark   October 3, 2012 at 3:13PM
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The "honey" recipe is more like a soft preserve, the consistency of bee honey.

The pears are cooked in the 6 cups of lemon-water. When Helen Witty says "water as needed" I believe she's referring to the water used to cook the lemon zest. It's a quart, more or less.

That quart-ish of water will be drained, then the zest will be added to the pear/6 cups of water mixture.

Essentially youâÂÂre cooking shredded pears in six cups of water to which the cooked zest is added. Then you will add the sugar after the mixture has come to a boil.

Coring hard pears is a bit of a pain. I cut them in half length-wise and use a grapefruit spoon to carve out the core. Or you could just peel them, quarter them, then cut out the seed/core center on each quarter.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2012 at 3:16PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

I didn't want to read through lots of pear threads finding recipes for ripe pears,

The point was you asked for ways to use them and any recipe that calls for pears can be used with these. Only the quality will be affected and given their poor quality it is most likely a waste of time.

And there are many pear recipes as well as tips on how to ripen them already posted that can be printed out and passed on to your friend. That includes the Pear Honey recipe which is in 3 different previous threads - rather than cannond having to take the time to re-type it yet again.

There is a real wealth of information already here on many topics if folks would just take a bit of time to read it for themselves.


    Bookmark   October 3, 2012 at 3:16PM
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I don't mind printing out the recipe at all. My time is not so precious. More to the point, while it's true there is a wealth of information, we needn't fold up our tents and disappear.

I'm here to get good recipes I haven't tried, and to lend out those I think are of particular interest. Sometimes, it's just nice to have someone make a suggestion, rather than wading through copious posts.


    Bookmark   October 3, 2012 at 3:28PM
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My pears never seem to really soften. They do ripen yellow, and are quite good when ripe, just not all that soft! I have canned them, juiced them, and cooked them down into pear sauce and butter.

So - just because they are hard does not mean they will not be good. I'd be curious to see how they are after they ripen.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2012 at 4:12PM
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Last year my sister brought me some pears from Arkansas that were really good keepers (great taste but very hard/crisp!) Although they were a bear to cut up, I made some great Pear Cardamom Preserves (from Ashley English's Canning and Preserving). They cooked down, but retained some texture that worked very well.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2012 at 7:45PM
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I also received a bag of very small hard pears. I made this jam, and it is absolutely great! If I had more pears, I'd make some pear/apple sauce :)

Pear Apple Jam
6 cups pears, peeled and finely chopped
2 cups apples, peeled and finely chopped
4 Tbsp lemon juice
1 package (1.75 oz) powdered pectin
1 tsp ground cinnamon
6 cups granulated sugar

In a large pot, combine the pears, apples, and lemon juice. Cook over medium heat until softened. Run the fruit through your food processor, and then return it to the pot. Whisk in the cinnamon and pectin until dissolved. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring frequently. Add in the sugar all at once and return to a full rolling boil for one minute. Remove from the heat and skim the foam off the top. Ladle hot jam into jars, leaving 1/4�� headspace. Wipe rim and center lids on jars, and then screw down bands just until resistance is met. Place jars in canner, ensuring they are covered with water, and boil for 10 minutes (adjust for altitude). Makes 6 eight-ounce jars.

Here is a link that might be useful: Pear Apple Jam

    Bookmark   October 3, 2012 at 8:52PM
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I wonder if you couldn't treat them like crabapples and do some of the same things with them. Pickled whole pears if they're that small. Things like that where you wouldn't have to cut them up that much.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 1:47PM
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It may also just be the type of pear, thinning and going through the ripening process might not help.

At the farm we have small hard pears that Grandpa just called "winter pears". They were smaller than a tennis ball, hard as a rock and never got soft no matter if they were wrapped in newspaper and stored in the root cellar until March, they would stay hard. They were also "gritty" but had a nice sweet flavor. Grandma canned them anyway, made "pink pears", which were just a canned pear with a bag of cinnamon red hots thrown into the syrup along with a couple of cinnamon sticks and a few whole cloves.

I'd try pear sauce, jelly or butter from them, probably, or perhaps pear mincemeat, something that entails some cooking.

As for the search function, it's abysmal. Good luck.


    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 12:59AM
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brendan_of_bonsai(4b AK)

If you are going to try to ripen them up toss them into a fridge for two weeks, rather than just 3-4 days.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 1:32AM
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How about infusing alcohol with them?

    Bookmark   October 10, 2012 at 1:21PM
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