Meme’s Pear Chow-Chow
From Bon Appétit, Y’all by Virginia Willis
Reprinted with permission from Bon Appétit, Y’all: Recipes and Stories from Three Generations of Southern Cooking by Virginia Willis, copyright © 2008. Published by Ten Speed Press.
12 ½ pounds pears, peeled, cored, and thickly sliced
2 ½ onions, preferably Vidalia (sweet white onion), chopped
2 green bell peppers, cored, seeded, and coarsely chopped
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and coarsely chopped
2 ½ cups distilled white vinegar
1 pound sugar (scant 2 ½ cups)
2 teaspoons pickling salt (see note)
2 teaspoons pickling spices
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade, working in batches, combine the pears, onions, and bell peppers, and pulse until ground but still slightly chunky. Place the mixture into a nonreactive pot and stir to combine.
Add the vinegar, sugar, pickling salt, pickling spices, and turmeric and stir to combine. Bring to a boil over high heat. Decrease the heat to low and simmer until thick, about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, sterilize four 1-quart canning jars and lids in boiling water, following the manufacturer’s instructions. Remove the jars from the water and place upside down to drain on a rack. Remove the lids from the water and dry with a clean towel. Turn the sterilized jars right side up on the rack, using tongs or a kitchen towel to protect your hands. When cool enough to handle, dry them with a clean towel. Set aside.
Fill the hot jars with the pear mixture, following the manufacturer’s instructions, leaving ¼ inch of headroom, and process them in a boiling-water canner for 10 minutes. Store the unopened jars at room temperature for up to 1 year. Once the jars are opened, store in the refrigerator for up to one month. Makes 4 quarts.
Variation: For refrigerator preserves, skip the boiling-water canner and refrigerate for up to one month.
Note: Pickling salt is fine grained, very pure, and free of additives which can cause pickles to turn dark and pickling liquid to turn cloudy. Pickling salt is labeled as such and is commonly available in the grocery store and online.