>Canning

>A couple of weeks ago, Dave brought two garbage bags full of pears into the house. We have a pear tree that we planted at least twenty–maybe more like thirty–years ago. The most pears we had ever gotten off it previously was one year when it bore three measley pears.

When Dave brought the pears to the house, they were green and rock hard. We spread them out on newspapers in the attic. Later I brought down a few to put on a plate on the kitchen counter so I could keep an eye on their progress.

We ate those pears and I knew I should check on the ones upstairs. Last Saturday afternoon, I went up and realized they needed to be canned. And they needed to canned immediately.

I had already done some dusting and vacuuming, so my back was extemely achy. But I carried down the pears and washed them. I brought up quart jars from the basement and washed them. I had new lids, but I realized that my ancient bands were all so rusty they probably wouldn’t seal. I made a trip to town and purchased two packages of lids with bands. Then I came home, carried in my groceries, and began peeling pears.

Dave came in from building his shed about 4:30 and he helped me peel. Then he stood by the stove for a very long time, stirring the pears so they wouldn’t scorch. When they finally began to boil, I put them in the hot jars and Dave tightened the bands over the lids. The lids began to ping before we finished filling the jars. We got seven quarts.

I asked Ariel to come out on Monday morning and she helped me peel for a hour or so before she had to go to work. I was concerned that I wouldn’t be able to stir the pears or tighten the bands (I have atrophied muscles, chronic pain, and fatigue), but I managed to slowly get the job done. I put pears into ten quart jars.

Canning is so much work that every time a lid pings, I audibly thank God. Every single jar sealed and we now have seventeen quarts of pears. We have also eaten several of them fresh and they are delicious–sweet and juicy–the best Iowa grown pears I’ve ever tasted.

This winter, when the snow is on the ground and it’s difficult to get out to grocery shop, I can open a jar of pears and we can have a taste of fall, remembering God’s wonderful provision in the bountiful harvest, the necessary strength, and the sealing pings!

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