Okay folks, this is so easy it’s sinful and you may need to ask for absolution. You have been warned.
We have a pear tree. I mean we have a HUGE pear tree and fortunately both the squirrels and the dog (Perdita) spared us more than enough pears to make pear butter and pear sauce this year. I love home canned apple sauce, but alas I do not have an apple tree, I have a pear tree. I love pears, but do not love pear sauce, however I have found that adding just a few apples to pear sauce makes a HUGE difference (pear is just too mild) and makes it delicious.
Crockpot Pear Applesauce
lots of pears, organic (I use nothing on my plants)
1 cinnamon stick
2-4 apples, organic
I cut up my pears and apples and tossed them all into the crock pots. I have two because I use one to make yogurt because it works better than the other one so I’ve held onto it. Do not bother to peel or core the fruit because you’re going to use a food mill later, and that leaves you with more nutrients. That’s part of the reason the sauce turns out darker. Since we use only organic fruit, there are no insecticides or anything to worry about. Pop in the cinnamon stick with the pears and apples. I did not add water. Pears are full of water so you don’t need it. Put the crockpot on low (for the one with a timer, I set it to 10 hours). The other one doesn’t have a timer so it just went to low.
The next day (see, easy) after I ran a 10k but before I went to get a tattoo. Oh wait, there goes my June Cleaver image you’ve built up of me. Dammit. Anyhow, I used a food mill to mill the pears and apples. Be sure to take out the cinnamon stick, though. If everything was relatively ripe (most of my pears were) you probably don’t need to add sugar. I did not add any sugar to my pear applesauce. I just love the fruit flavor to shine through! Compost the peels and seeds and stuff.
I noticed as I was ladling out the fruit that there was a LOT of juice and I don’t like my applesauce TOO saucy so I said to myself, “Self, why don’t you make some pear/apple jelly out of all that beautiful juice?”
Myself answered back, “Well that is a delightful idea, Self!”
“Thank you! I thought so, myself!”
So I dug around for my jelly bag and was amazed that I found it (I used to use it for yogurt, but now I have something better) and ladled the sauce into the bag and let about six cups run out of beautiful, cinnamon flavored pear/apple juice! Oh Nirvana!!!! I added 3 cups of sugar, low sugar pectin, and popped that liquid gold into my bread maker. Yes, you read that right, into my bread maker. If you have been thinking “Oh, I don’t want to get a bread maker because I don’t like single-use appliances, and while I would love to make my own bread I don’t think that’s a good enough reason to get it.” I am giving you another reason. Bread makers make amazing jams and jellies without you having to stand over a steaming boiling pot of liquid magma just waiting to pop out and boil over your skin and burn you into oblivion. (Okay, maybe that’s a bit dramatic, but I’ve had a jelly burn and dayum, it hurts like a mo-fo. Crap, there goes my image again.) So while it heated and stirred my jelly I water bathed my pear applesauce and prepped for the next crazy thing I wanted to make.
When it was finished, I ladled it into 2 half pints and 2 pints (because I was out of half pints, but I am definitely making more so I will go grab more half pint jelly jars) and put it to water bath, set the timer, told my husband to take them out when the timer rang, headed out to grab my friend, Jacquie, and went to get my tattoo!
Oh and I suppose you want to see the tattoo. Okay, let me explain. Last summer I got a tattoo on my forearm that starts on the inside of my wrist that says “defy” and the y turns into the flight path of a dragonfly. Roy designed it for me and helped me pick just the right word. I chose it to remind me that I am a person who defies a lot of things. I have twice defied death. First, a CT scan for kidney stones illuminated a pre-cancerous pancreatic tumor that lead to a number of surgeries and a not very happy year, but saved me from pancreatic cancer. As a member of the Whipple Warriors (that’s the name of the main surgery I had), I have seen so many pass on in the last 11 years. It’s heart breaking. Second, I had my brain explosion (subarachnoid hemorrhage) which is, apparently, a VBD (very big deal) and lived through that.
I also lost over 100 pounds and defied those odds. Depending on statistics, 85-95% of people who lose weight will regain it within 5 years. I have kept it off for 11 years, even through two major health crises. I am a girl in a male industry-not a teacher, but IT. I teach my boys to respect women in IT. Not only can I fix your computer, resolve your network problem, but I can also quote Star Wars, Star Trek, and Dr. Who (really turns my husband on). At the same time, I can also can, bake, and churn butter.
I chose a dragonfly for a number of reasons. First I’ve just always loved them. We see a lot of them in the summer in the Pacific Northwest. They are like water nymphs that dance through summer reminding us how magical summer is. I also shared a very special moment with my nephew, Ryan, when he was four years old and a dragonfly flew into the house frightening him. I taught him that dragonflies are our friends and they live very short lives, so always tell them “Have a nice day!” because it would be sad if they did not because they are such good bugs. Dragonflies represent change and adaptability. I have undergone so many changes in the last 11 years of my life. Not all of them have been good changes, but I have adapted to all of them and I have kept a good spirit about it (most of the time). They also represent happiness and joy and I am very blessed in my life and overall a very happy and joyful person. My family, such as it is, of dogs and my amazing husband bring me so much joy. Dragonflies can also represent speed and while I am not speedy, I am a runner and I keep on going!
So after last year’s beautiful tattoo, I decided to add to it this year and continue with the same artist. I wanted simplicity and beauty and more color just continuing to represent another year of joy, adaptability, and accomplishment. I recently completed my 100th marathon so originally I wanted one to represent that, but then decided I just wanted something to overall represent my life of continual change. So three more dragonflies joined the first. Each one is a different color that graduates into the final one that is red and orange. I love it!