Learn to bottle nashi fruit from the queen of preserves herself, Sally Wise.
I’ve been fortunate enough to be given some nashi fruit – well, quite a lot actually, about 4 large boxes in all. Some we have preserved in cooking classes but still 2 boxes remained.
Now nashi fruit are deliciously juicy but some people maintain that they are a little lacking in flavour. However, whether or not this is the case, they bottle really well. Husband Robert, the self appointed preserver’s assistant, manned the apple peeler/corer. I think most Tasmanian primary school classrooms have one of these now, a boon to teachers who can easily peel and core apples for the children. It has a novelty factor as the resulting flesh of the apple (or pear or nashi) resembles a ‘slinky’.
Friend Bec said she bottles her apples this way and so this is why we have adapted it to the nashi. It works really well of course but after a time Robert suggests inserting some short pieces of rhubarb into the cavity space from the core. I figured this would also add flavour so it was duly tried and worked a treat. Mind you, you need large preserving jars, size 65 Fowlers are best so you can fit the nashis in there attractively. Even then they will rise a bit during processing.
However, rising in the bottle is not necessarily a bad thing – it generally means a good seal. For the sake of appearances, if you want the fruit evenly spaced in the jar, leave it to stand for 2 to 3 weeks, then turn the jar on its side and shake from side to side. The fruit will, as if by magic, float to the bottom, saturated as it is by now with the syrup.
All that being said, here is the method for preserving nashi fruit:
Citric acid (available at supermarkets)
Prepare the preserving bottles by washing and rinsing.
Place the new preserving rings in hot water. Remove one by one and place on the preserving bottles, ensuring there are no twists in the rings.
Peel and core the nashis and either halve them or make into ‘slinkies (see introduction).
Fill jars with nashi halves, packed firmly and then cover immediately with the syrup. If you are preparing a large number of nashis, while they are waiting to be placed in the jars, you may like to dip them into half to three quarters of a bucket of water in which 1 tablespoon citric acid has been dissolved (this will help prevent discoloration).
Now make a syrup (see note at end of method) of desired strength and fill the jars brimful. To each 4 litre of syrup add 5g citric acid (or 2 tablespoons lemon juice)
Put lids on jars, then secure with two clips.
Place in preserver. Fill preserver with cold water up to the lid of the bottles.
Bring heat up to 88°C (this should take about 45 minutes), and hold at this temperature for one hour.
With a thermostat control unit, turn preserver on to 88°C and leave for 1¾ hours.
You can use just plain water if you want, but the flavour of the preserve will not be so good. You can use honey instead of sugar, but use only half the amount.
Light: one part sugar, four parts water
Medium: one part sugar, two parts water
Heavy: equal parts sugar and water
So here in the photo below is what I was talking about, firstly with the nashi with the rhubarb insert. Secondly, about their rising in the jars, which I can fix in a trice in a week or so as discussed in the method. Notice how the plain nashi fruit on the right did not rise – this is because you can place the nashi ‘slinkies’ in the jar more strategically.
If you choose to use the rhubarb insert, the preserving time and temperatures are exactly the same as for nashis alone.