Seckel Pears are tiny pears, with a chubby, round body, small neck, and short stem. They are green in color, with a soft maroon blush. The smallest of all commercially grown pears, Seckels are exceptionally sweet. So sweet in fact, that the bite-size morsels are sometimes called "sugar pears."
After pickling, the pears can be eaten right away, but they'll continue to become more flavorful over time. These petite pickled pears taste best when firm, so be sure to eat them within one month. After that the flesh will become softer and might start to discolor.
These lightly-spiced pickled pears are a beautiful addition to a cheese plate, and wonderful with roast meats, especially milder meats like chicken and pork.
NOTE: This recipe calls for adding the cloves to the brine, but you can stud the pears with them if you'd like and then they'll look like the Seckel pears in my Spiced Pickled Seckel Pears blog post. You will, however, need considerably more whole cloves then is called for in this recipe.
Makes about 1 quart, depending on the size of the pears
- 1 1/2 pounds Seckel pears (about 9)
- 2 cups apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1 tsp sea salt or kosher salt
- 1 tsp black peppercorns (or mixed peppercorns such as pink, green, white and/or black)
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 star anise
- 6 whole cloves
Note: First prepare canning jars and keep hot until ready to use; prepare lids according to the manufacturer's instructions.
1.) Wash pears well. You can use a vegetable peeler to peel them if you'd like, but they look very pretty in jars with their peels left on.
2.) Make a brine in a non-reactive pan by combining the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugars, then reduce to a low heat; just enough to keep it warm while you finish prepping the pears.
3.) Prick a dozen holes in each pear, so their skins won't crack or burst in the hot brine. No need to make it perfect. Just rotate the pear while quickly poking holes in the surface of the pear, here & there, with a toothpick or skewer.
4.) Add all of the pears to the hot brine at once. Bring the liquid back to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 8-10 minutes, or until the pears seem soft when pierced with the tip of a knife.
5.) Remove the pan of pickled pears from the heat and let them cool. Once cool, gently spoon the pears into a jar and then carefully pour the brine over the top of them.
6.) Place a lid on the jar and store it in the refrigerator for up to one month. (They can be processed in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes and then stored in the pantry, but they tend to shrivel up after about one month. They still taste good, but they don't look too pretty!)