I am pleased to present our 5th fan post on The Southern Lady Cooks from Vera Guthrie and Phyllis Salmons.
Thanks so much to The Southern Lady Cooks (Bless Her Heart!) for allowing us to tell you about one of our favorite treats of our childhood — Pear Preserves!
Our Mama, Addie Davis Salmons, a widow, built a house in the outskirts of Winston-Salem, NC in the early 1970s. Before long, she planted an apple tree and a pear tree in the backyard. Over the years, her family has reaped the benefits — that is, the fruits of her labor. From the apples, she made stewed apples, fried apple pies (from reconstituted dried apples) and Apple Butter.The pear tree frequently produced so much fruit that the limbs bent under the strain of the weight. Vera’s mother-in-law, Maude Guthrie, once weighed a pear and it came in at three pounds! Phyllis has often said, “That pear tree doesn’t owe us a dime!” because the cost of the sapling that was planted has been recovered time and time again. From the pears, Mama canned Pear Preserves. It was a delight when months later we could enjoy them with fresh homemade biscuits and a cup of hot coffee (if we were allowed). At times they were served as breakfast and sometimes, a “dessert” when there were biscuits not eaten from supper.
Here is how Mama put up the preserves:
*Using two parts pears to one part sugar
Wash, peel, core, and slice pears into thin slivers. Place the sugar over the pears and let them sit overnight in the sugar.
The next morning, cook slowly on low to medium heat until the juice that results starts to thicken. When the pears turn amber in color and start to foam, they are almost done — it will take about three hours.
As soon as the amber color occurs and the syrup is thick* enough, start putting the pears and syrup into clean jars and tighten lids. As the jars cool they will seal.
*The best way to tell is to check if the syrup is thick enough is to put a drop on a plate and be sure that it runs slowly when the plate is tipped.
Mama is no longer with us, but Vera and her husband Jack still care for those trees, since their home was built next door to Mama’s house. Along with Apple Butter, Vera and Jack put up Pear Preserves to be enjoyed whenever the spirit moves. When a sibling visits from out of town, it is a given that pear preserves and biscuits will be served!
Our brother Garland lives in Hawaii, where he and his wife retired after his career in the Navy. A few months ago he called Vera for the recipe and then he made some for himself. Having experience in food preparation in the Navy, Garland was happy to dig into his own fresh hot biscuits and his new batch of pear preserves!
Now you know how to do it too! Enjoy!
Phyllis is a college professor who has spent many years teaching physics to students, aspiring to enter the aviation and space industry. She lives in Daytona Beach, Florida.
Thank you so much Phyllis and Vera for bringing this great recipe to us today! You can leave Vera and Phyllis a comment either here on the blog or on facebook.
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