I put up pears and grapes last year but they were more of an afterthought than an eagerly anticipated harvest. Our peaches, plums and nectarines did not produce this year due to the weird winter so I have been hanging my hat on the loaded pear trees and grape arbors to make up the majority of our preserves and canned/frozen fruit for this year. Every day I check the pears and eagerly hunt the grape arbors for ripening fruit. Today it was there :)
The first batch of pears are cooking down in the crock pot for pear sauce. When it is done I plan to freeze it in pint jars. I cooked the first grapes down then blended them and hung the wonderful mush to drain for grape juice. Today was not a good day for jelly making due to time constraints so I set the first harvest up for more "set it and forget it" foods. The house smells wonderful between the simmering pears, the dehydrator full of Basil and a batch of oat meal bread I baked today. This is what home is supposed to smell like.
Peal and core pears and load in crock pot. Color preservation aid of choice optional, I have used lemon or fruit fresh to keep sauce from browning.
Some recipes suggest adding any desired spices at the beginning and some recommend adding after you drain and mash your pears. I am going to save my pear juice for future recipes so I will be adding my spices and sweetener at the end.
Add 1- 1 1/2 cups of water to pears and cook down in crock pot on high aprox 6 hours until tender.
Drain pears and mash. Reserved pear juice may be saved for future recipes (pork roast etc)
Add desired sweetener to taste (honey, sugar etc) as well as any desired spices (cinnamon, clove, ginger, nutmeg etc.
Sauce can be put in jars and frozen, used immediately or canned (follow safe canning directions for apple/pear sauce). I freeze in point jars and take a jar out to defrost in fridge as needed.
Oatmeal Honey Bread
2 cups warm water, whole milk or buttermilk (if using milk warm it so it will activate your yeast)
2 tbs active dry yeast
1/4 cut honey
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup rolled oats or other rolled grain ( I use mixed rolled grains to add more oomph)
aprox 5 cups unbleached flour (I am a fan of King Arthur flours)
Mix warm water/milk, honey and yeast and let stand ten minutes (I put this directly in my kitchen aid mixing bowl)
After you have a nice head on your yeast mixture add eggs, oil, salt and oats and start mixing (can be done by hand, I use my mixer with the dough hook from here on for all the mixing).
Start adding flour one cup at a time and continue mixing. When your dough has formed a stiffer ball that wants to hang on your hook it is ready to kneed.
Oil large bowl with a tablespoon or two of olive oil.
Place dough on floured surface and kneed just long enough so it is not sticky anymore and you start to feel an elasticity to the dough as you kneed. Place in oiled bowl, cover with damp towel and place in warm spot to rise for apron an hour or until doubled.
Prepare 2-3 loaf pans then turn your risen dough back out on floured surface and kneed for a minute, divide into equal parts and form. Place in loaf pans and cover with damp towel. Let rise 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350. Once loaves have risen use serrated knife to slice top before placing in oven. Bake 30 minutes.
Add butter/honey/jam..... and enjoy.