Last weekend, we visited my husband’s grandparents and acquired a large quantity of rock hard pears from a neighbor’s tree. What do you do with rock hard pears, you ask? You make pear preserves, of course, which is what I did this Saturday. As a warning, this task is not for the faint of arm. No matter how good your knife, cutting over twelve pounds of rock hard pears is intense. By the end, I felt like I would be unable to pick up a knife again, ever.
After all the pears were cut and cooked into preserves, the canning commenced. I sterilized and filled the jars (6 pints and 2 half pints) and started placing them in the huge pot of boiling water. I placed all of the pint jars in the pot, along with one of the half pint jars. As I went to get the last half pint, I heard a kind of popping sound from the pot. Probably not good. My fears were confirmed as I looked into the pot and saw the water becoming cloudy. The half pint jar had broken.
Unsure what to do, I used the canning tongs to lift the jar out. When I did this, instead of merely seeping out, the contents of the jar, gushed out into the water. It pretty much looked like someone had vomited pear chunks into my pot. The canning had to go on, so I gingerly set the only remaining half pint jar into the pot with the intact pints jars and waited an excruciating eight minutes or so for the water to return to a boil and boil for five minutes, terrified that I would hear another pop at any minute, signaling the destruction of more of my hard work. Fortunately, that did not come to pass, and after boiling for five minutes, I retrieved seven intact jars of pear preserves from the pear vomit pot.