Sunday, September 26, 2010

Luscious Lava

I feel fulfilled regarding chutney "needs" now, but I still have plenty of fruit for pear butter, waiting to be pressurized. Meanwhile, I've discovered a whole new pear passion.

Mamie has been talking with great enthusiasm about Esther's pear honey. I came across this concept several years ago while searching the internet for pear preservation recipes, but I had no need to try it until Mamie kept mentioning her longing.

I was at a pot luck lunch honoring one of our precious people who recently died, when I came upon Esther. We got to talking about this delicacy that Mamie so desired, so I asked Esther her secrets. After coming home with a basic list of ingredients, I went online and found proportions and procedures, just in case I had any extras of the pear pearls that Richard had peeled.

I did end up with a few cups of Richard's pear pearls waiting for a home, and Josie had handed me a ripe pineapple a few days ago. Why not try something new? With a bit of whirring in the food processor, the pineapple and pears were ready to be cooked down with sugar into the golden elixir called pear honey.

For those who have never made jams and jellies, cooking down jam is like living in a kitchen with a spitting volcano. The syrup is so thick that it becomes superheated on the bottom of the pot, so that every time a bubble or a stirring spoon breaks the surface, a few balls of the molten luscious lava fly onto everything in their path. This can cause some serious damage to the skin of anyone unwise enough to be within range. And if the temperature isn't regulated just so, the whole stove and floor surrounding it become a hardened lava field upon cooling.

The pear honey is as good as it looks, so I'm now anxious to get a taste test to Esther and Mamie. Will it pass the muster of the canning queens?

As for the pear butter, I just won't have time to finish it today because I'm going back to Atlanta to finish preparing for Don's Party Into Paradise. After pressurizing the pears, I'll simply stick them in the freezer. I will, hopefully have our Coker Creek Kitchen Club going at the Smoky Mountain Christian Camp very soon after I arrive back here. Then, all the parties interested in sharing methods for good old down-home cooperative cooking and other homey endeavors can congregate for some family-style fun.

Maybe it will be the beginning of our very own Coker Creek Creative Camp, sort of like Foxfire and other folk schools, but probably more full of fun.