I remember vividly the first time I tried it. From who I was with, to the lighting in the restaurant. I was nervous - this was my first exploration into the land of sushi. I was with an old, dear friend; Blair Shimbashi. I figured if anyone would steer me down the path to good sushi, it would be Blair. I was not a very adventurous eater as a child. In fact one might say that I swayed closer to the term 'picky' than I did adventurous.
It wasn't until I was in University that I was brave enough to try Thai food and I was well past university when I decided I was ready for sushi.
To my surprise and Blair's delight, I loved it. I gobbled up everything on my plate; from the tuna to the eel. I couldn't get enough washabi, but the one thing that stopped me in my tracks was the ginger. I didn't like it. I am not sure if it was the texture, the aroma or the flavour, but there was something about it that turned me right off.
It took almost a decade until my taste buds changed their minds. And change their mind they did. I don't just suffer through or tolerate ginger now. I LOVE IT! I could add ginger to almost everything if given the chance.
A few years ago, a friend of mind knowing about my most recent love affair handed me a recipe for Ginger Pears. She had found it tucked in the back of a recipe book and she was uncertain of the source. Using Google Recipe Search, I was able to track it down to here. I can't be certain that is where she got it from, but it is pretty darn close.
Not to take away from the source that Google Recipe gave me, but I am going to share the recipe with you as she shared it with me. There are subtle differences and I think the yield in her recipe is much more accurate.
I hope that the people that have signed up for my first canning class at The Depanneur are as crazy about Ginger as I am as we will be making this together in just a couple of nights.
Preserved Pears with Ginger
- 3 cups granulated sugar
- 3 cups water
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest*
- 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, finely chopped or grated
- 2 lbs pears, cored, peeled, and quartered
- 3 tablespoons crystallized ginger, chopped (candied ginger)
- 3 or 4 500ml jars and lids
* Lemon zest is a necessary ingredient for this recipe, so please don’t leave it out. It provides natural pectin to the syrup and thickens the preserves.
Sterilize the 500ml jars and lids and set them aside.
In a large saucepan, heat the sugar, water, lemon juice, lemon zest, and fresh ginger to a boil. Lower the temperature so the mixture is simmering, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes.
Add the quartered pears and crystallized ginger to the saucepan and continue cooking for 30 minutes, until the preserves thicken and coat a spoon.
Pack the pears and gingered syrup into the sterilized jars leaving ½” headspace. Wipe rims, apply lids and rings. Process jars in a boiling water bath canner for 10 minutes. This recipe yields 3 to 4, 500ml jars.