How to Can Pears Without Sugar

how to can pears without sugar

I’m a lazy canner you guys…

I adore canning and especially love surveying the pretty rows of brightly colored jars when I’m finished, but you can bet that if I can safely take a “shortcut,” I will.

Take my home-canned applesauce for example. The vast majority of applesauce recipes insist you peel the apples first. But if you’re me, you simply quarter them, core them, and toss them in the pot, peels and all. (And if you have a food mill, it gets even easier!)

When I decided to can pears last weekend, I was slightly dismayed to find that all the recipes called for peeling (not an easy task with a slippery, slimy pear) and then batch-cooking the fruit in heavy sugar syrups.

how to can pears


This was not fitting with my lazy highly-efficient style of canning…

So I decided to make some adjustments. Now, generally, canning recipes are NOT something you want to adjust too much, as usually the “rules” are in place to keep the food safe to eat (for example–getting rebellious and canning low-acid food in a water bath canner instead of a pressure canner is a BAD idea).

However, after a little research I determined the edits I wanted to make would still allow me to produce SAFE canned pears with a bit less work. Score!

You’ll find two main changes in this recipe:

1) I did not peel my pears. Most people choose to peel them to avoid the grainy texture, but honestly, this doesn’t bother me too much. You can definitely still peel them if you like, or you can just be lazy like me and leave them intact.

2) I did not use sugar. At all. In many canning recipes, sugar acts as a preserving agent, however in canning peaches and pears, it is just for sweetness, which allows us to safely omit it.… [Continue Reading]

Clean Up Your Fall Garden and Give it a Boost for Next Year!

how to prep garden for winter

I’m at the annual doTERRA essential oil convention this week, so I’m thrilled to be welcome Anni Winings of Homestead and Gardens to the blog as she shares her best tips for cleaning up your garden for the fall and giving it a boost! I’ll be doing my garden clean up sooner than I originally planned, especially after our freak snowstorm last week!

It’s nearing the end of the season, and all that luscious growth in your garden will die back as the cold winter months come. Why not turn it into a big boost for your garden next spring?

garden waste at the end of the year -

As a general rule, compost-ables fall into two categories – Greens and Browns. Many gardeners clamor for the greens, but both have a lot to give to your garden.

The greens?includes anything that is still alive or wet – green leaves, over-ripe produce, kitchen scraps, fresh grass clippings, etc. The greens contain more nutrients, including nitrogen, which is the number one nutrient people fertilize their garden with. Greens tend to compost more quickly.

The browns are dry, dead material – fallen leaves, bean pods, straw, dried grass clippings, etc. The browns do contain nutrients, but not as much as the greens. What they do have in abundance is carbon which, when composted, has a large nutrient-holding capacity (to hold all the nutrients from your composted greens) and the perfect light, airy, crumbly structure your plants love to sink their roots into. Browns compost more slowly.

Whatever you choose to compost, make sure it hasn’t been sprayed with chemicals. Perhaps your neighbor down the road thinks he’s doing you a favor by giving you all his grass clippings for your garden. But if he has sprayed his lawn with a broad-leaf herbicide (such as 2-4D) or preen (a pre-emergent herbicide that prevents seeds from sprouting), you really don’t want that on your garden.… [Continue Reading]

Rustic Pear Tart with Cream and Spice

pear tart recipe

Confession time:

If I have to choose between a sinfully rich chocolate dessert and a fruit dessert, I usually pick the chocolate.

Scandalous, I know…

It’s not that I don’t enjoy fruit desserts, because I do, (especially my homemade peach pie!), but chocolate will always hold a special place in my heart. Especially when it’s combined with some sort of cream. I mean, can you really compete with that?


The tables may have turned, thanks to this knock-your-socks off pear tart recipe that I recently discovered. It came at the perfect time, considering I had just lugged home a very heavy box of Barlett pears from my latest Bountiful Baskets order.

how to make pear pie

I absolutely adore pears, and my favorite way to eat them is raw. However, I knew there was no way to eat ‘em all before they started going bad, so I had to get creative. It took a concentrated day in the kitchen canning whole pears, making cinnamon pearsauce, and whipping up this tart, but I think I finally have a handle on this pear situation.

This mouth-watering recipe comes straight from the From Scratch cookbook, authored by one of my favorite homesteading bloggers, Shaye, from The Elliott Homestead. Shaye is a girl after my own heart, and I think it’s probably a good thing she lives in Washington and I live in Wyoming, otherwise, we would get into all sorts of trouble…

Rustic Pear Tart with Cream and Spices

You will need:

  •  1 1/2 cups finely ground nuts (I used almond flour–although any fine nuts will work)
  •  5 tablespoons softened butter
  •  1/4 teaspoon salt
  •  2 tablespoons sucanat or other granulated sweetener of your choice.
  • 5-6 medium pears, peeled and sliced thin
  •  1 teaspoon cinnamon
  •  1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  •  1/4 cup sucanat or natural sweetener of choice (honey will work)
  •  1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup cream
  • 1 egg

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.… [Continue Reading]

Can I Tell You a Story?

Once upon a time, there was this girl…

She was pretty typical, as far as young American gals go.

She grew up in a quiet little neighborhood on the outskirts of town, always kept her grades up, and never really questioned much about the world around her.

The girl back then...

The girl back then…

She ate typical American fare growing up: processed cheese in the thin plastic wrappers, Chef Boyardee ravioli, and yes, even the 29 cent packages of Ramen noodles. She had a special love for McDonald’s french fries, and thoroughly enjoyed an ice-cold Coca-Cola alongside them.

Cooking always seemed to get in the way of things she’d rather be doing, and she never found much enjoyment from it anyway, so she mostly avoided it whenever she could.

As far as being green, or trying to be “natural,” that was just stuff for hippie-folk. Recycling and repurposing were a silly waste of time. People like her didn’t worry about that stuff, and she most certainly didn’t.

After college, she continued along in her ways, happily filling her cart with frozen taquitos, chemical cleaners, and 1% milk anytime she went to the grocery store.

But that’s not the end of the story.

Fast Forward 10 Years…

That very same, standard American girl now lives on 67-acres of windswept grassland in the middle-of-nowhere Wyoming. She spends the majority of her days in her kitchen and finds special pleasure creating from-scratch version of foods she used to buy from the grocery store; things like chewy french bread, creamy whole-milk yogurt, and maple-kissed marshmallows.

The girl now… All grown up.

Her favorite moments are spend in the barnyard tending to the animals she raises. She’s passionate about growing as many of her ingredients as possible, so her barnyard menagerie includes a gentle Brown Swiss milk cow, a flock of laying hens, several hogs, and various meat birds.… [Continue Reading]