This recipe features one of my favorite preserving methods: a simple technique known as quick pickling. There's no need for processing the jars in big kettles full of boiling water. No valves or gauges or thermometers or timers are involved.
You'll just need a jar with a tight-fitting lid. It's not necessary to use a Mason-type canning jar or a special sealing lid, as long as you store these Pickled Seckel Pears covered in your refrigerator.
Start with a diminutive pear variety called a "Seckel" pear.
Well, don't start with just one pear. I doubt even one pound of these sassy little Seckel pears will be enough for you. Did you see how cute they are? They're only a little larger than a chicken egg.
There are 6 Seckel pears per pound. I used 18 Seckel pears in this batch*, which happened to fit perfectly, along with their brine, in an old 62 oz. Farman's pickle jar.
Back to the pears...wash them well and and set them aside.
Make a brine and bring it to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugars in the brine, which will only take a minute or two. Turn heat down to low while you go back to prepping the pears.
Prick a dozen holes in each pear, so the skin won't burst later 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.
Add the pears to the hot brine, 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.
Remove the pan of pickled Seckel 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.
The pears should keep well for at least a month in their brine. In researching my own recipe, I noticed some similar pickled pear recipes said to "wait a month" to eat them, while others said to eat them "within one month".
How about doing what I did? I ate 3 within the first 24 hours of making them, including one that very night as soon as it cooled. The Pickled Seckel Pears added pizzazz to my plate; a dinner of roasted chicken, honey-glazed carrots, and wheat berry-kale salad.
If I keep eating them at this rate, they'll be gone in a week. I made sure to save a few aside to eat out-of-hand as a healthy snack.
ShuMai (my fruit-loving Pug) is happy to hear we still have plenty of fresh Seckel pears in the house. She prefers the non-pickled kind!
Be sure to buy extra Seckel pears for other recipes. This versatile fruit works well cooked or served raw in salads, and on cheese plates it's an adorable edible garnish. By themselves they're a naturally sweet treat. So sweet, in fact, that they are often referred to by growers as "sugar pears."
Good Great things really do come in small packages.
*Note: The printable recipe for Pickled Seckel Pears is for 1 1/2 pounds of Seckel pears, but it can be easily doubled, as shown in my photos.