Pears, pickles and an (old) new stove

Is it logical to get really, really excited about a second-hand stove?

But after cursing madly for a year about the pathetic inability of a new ceramic topped stove to hold a rolling boil, and hence create a jam that actually sets, we took the gas-powered route this week, swapping the almost new stove out for a far older one from the spouse’s old home and getting ready for the instant responsiveness that goes with gas. And after a single burst of making things, I am proud to say that it works. The stove top is big enough to fit both a preserving kettle and a canning saucepan, which is always a good thing, and the ingredients went from boil to simmer in a tiny twist of a dial.

The recipe — a surprisingly simple pear chutney with chinese five-spice as its only seasoning, was an effort to use up the treeload of pears that’s filling up the basement and the fridge right now. It ended up a gentle tawny brown, with white flecks from the garlic and red flecks from the chile. And while it tastes a little over sweet right now, I’m assuming it will mellow with age.

From that Costco find, The Complete Guide to Pickling

8 cups chopped peeled pears (we sort of lost count of this one, it might have been eight, or seven, or perhaps nine)
1-1/2 cups finely chopped onions
4 cloves minced garlic (they were very small cloves, so we used eight)
1 hot pepper, seeded and minced (very large pepper, so we used half)
1-1/2 cups sugar (will cut the sugar next time)
1-1/2 tsp salt (recipe said pickling salt, used regular. What’s the difference?)
1-1/2 tsp five spice powder (fresh from the Asian supermarket, smelled yummy)
1 cup white vinegar
1 cup rice vinegar

Simmer ingredients together in a large saucepan until the mix is thick enough to mound on a spoon. Bottle in sterilized jars, making sure to remove the air pockets and wipe down the rims before you seal it. Simmer in a water bath for 10 minutes if you want to be really sure that there won’t be nasty bugs.

Anyone got any clues what to do with the next dozen pounds of pears?

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