I have some nice hard pears so I thought it was time to try this interesting recipe for Ginger Pears contributed by Mrs. Alexander Millar for the 1906 Berlin Cook Book. I am demonstrating a salad dressing recipe tomorrow at the International Plowing Match and was asked to bring some other things to show. I think Ginger Pears might look appealing. I assume they are a preserve since the recipe appears in that section of the cook book.
I wasn’t sure if I was to peel the pears but decided not to do so. Instead I washed 6 pears (2 pounds), cut each in quarters removing the core and then slicing them lengthwise. I added 2 pounds (4 cups) of sugar and the sliced pears to a large saucepan. I poured one tumbler (1 1/4 cups) of water in and then cut 5 lemons finely. I didn’t peel the lemons but I tried avoiding the seeds. I cut the crystalized ginger thinly and added it to the mix. The preparation of these ingredients is time consuming. I takes quite a while to carefully slice all the ingredients. If they cook to mush I’ll be really annoyed. I kept the heat on low and stirred. I left the pot alone for over two hours, just stirring occasionally. Once it was a bit thicker and the fruit was well cooked, I removed the pot from the heat and canned the preserve. I left some out to sample.
In 1901 Margaret Eliza Warren was 59 and her husband Alexander Millar was 65. They lived in Berlin where Alexander (a former mayor) is a barrister. Years earlier he was an inspector for Mercantile Insurance. They had two sons but their only daughter had died ten years earlier when she was about 15 years old.
The family name is spelled Miller in the 1911 census. Alexander is now 74 and Margaret is 65 but the surprise is they are caring for their five-year old American born grandson. His name is listed as Alex N.G.C. and he came to Canada when he was one. Their married son Hugh also lives with them in the family home at 100 Queen Street North but there isn’t a wife listed. The household also includes a 22-year-old domestic servant named Annie Jacobs. Her ancestry is German while Alexander’s is Scottish and Margaret’s is English. Hugh works as a town clerk and Alexander is still a barrister.
This recipe seems to fit with this family. Ginger pears have hints of marmalade probably because of the quantity of lemons. I like this preserve.The pear slices kept their shape while becoming almost translucent.At least all the careful slicing wasn’t wasted. It isn’t very thick although maybe it will when it cools. I kept some out when canning the rest of the ginger pear preserve. I didn’t have enough crystalized ginger so the flavour is mainly lemon and sugar. I think the correct amount of ginger and perhaps a little less lemon would make this a very nice preserve. Of course I’m not sure how to use it. It would be nice on toast if a bit sloppy. It would go nicely with a plain piece of cake or on top of ice cream.
2 pounds of pears sliced thin (have the pears hard), 2 pounds of granulated sugar, 1 tumbler of water, 5 lemons cut very fine, 1 pound crystalized ginger cut thin, boil slowly for 2 hours.