Whole brined pears are spicy, crisp, and delicious! They make the perfect addition to your holiday meal. Or keep a few jars in the fridge for handy snacking. If you want to know how to make whole brined pears, keep reading.
Brined whole apples are a traditional food in Russia, dating back centuries. Sometimes the apples would have been placed whole in with the sauerkraut, and other times a special preparation of an oak barrel lined with rye straw would have been used. Either way, the kraut or the oak and rye straw served to enhance the flavor of the final apples.
Pears are much like apples and can be fermented in the same way.
CHOOSING YOUR PEARS
One of our pear trees produces plenty of tiny pears that are a bit too small to bother with peeling and canning. I’m always at a loss for what to do with them once we’ve eaten our fill, and fermenting them seems like a great way to preserve them and enhance their flavor at the same time.
Good firm pears should wrinkle and become almost translucent under the skin when the ferment is finished. Try starting with a firm pear like a Bartlett, and avoid soft skinned varieties such as Bosc.
CHOOSING YOUR SPICES
If you don’t happen to have an oak barrel or rye straw laying around the kitchen, warm spices are traditional as well. Try adding cardamom, cinnamon, and cloves. Whole spices dropped into the jar can be fished out later and won’t cloud the fermentation brine or muddy up your pears like powdered spices will.
If you happen to have access to currant leaves, they also add a nice flavor to fermented apples and pears, but they’re not strictly necessary.
To get the ferment going quickly and prevent the whole fruits from spoiling, I used a starter culture.* It’s traditional to use a bit of rye flour in the brine to help feed the ferment, but feel free to either skip it or add a few tablespoons of honey. Regardless, a starter is essential for this whole fruit fermentation.
HOW TO MAKE WHOLE BRINED PEARS
A RECIPE FOR WHOLE BRINED PEARS
Yield: 1 quart
Fermentation time: 5-7 days
- Pears enough to fill a wide-mouthed quart Mason jar (or double the recipe for large pears in a half gallon)
- 1/4 cup yogurt whey* or sauerkraut juice from a successful ferment
- 2 Tbs honey or maple syrup
- 2 Tbs salt
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 3-5 allspice berries
- 3-5 cloves
- 2 cups chlorine-free water (approximate)
- Fill the jar with your pears. I had small pears, so a quart batch worked out well for a small tester batch. Likely you’ll need to double this recipe to use a half gallon batch for normally sized pears.
- Add in your seasonings including cinnamon, allspice, and cloves.
- Make a brine dissolving the salt and sweetener in two cups of water. Add in the starter culture, either whey or sauerkraut juice. Pour the mixture over the pears. Top with extra water if needed but be sure to leave 1-2 inches of headspace.
- Add in your glass fermentation weight to keep the pears submerged, and close with the water lock in your Fermentools fermentation kit.
- Ferment at room temperature for five to seven days. At the end of the ferment, transfer to the refrigerator where they’ll keep for one to two months as you enjoy them sliced or whole.
*FERMENTOOLS DOES NOT SUPPORT THE ADDING OF WHEY TO FERMENTS. WHILE SOME FOLKS LIKE TO DO IT TO PROMOTE DIFFERENT STRAINS OF BACTERIA, OR TO GIVE THEIR FERMENT A BOOST, THE FOLKS AT FERMENTOOLS FEELS IT IS UNNECESSARY.
Fermentools’ fermentation lids for Mason jars are made in North America of surgical stainless steel to last a lifetime. Add to them our affordable glass weights, gasket, and airlock and you have the perfect kit for all your fermenting needs. Visit our store today!
Ashley is an off-grid homesteader in central Vermont. She is passionate about fermentation, charcuterie, and foraging. Read more about her adventures at PracticalSelfReliance.com.