What a year was 2011 for fruit, particularly apples and pears. Apples store better than pears and seem to be more versatile, but pears chould not be underestimated. And whilst apples are readily available all year, pears are rarely eaten after the autumn season so I am pickling some for the Christmas period. A friend gave me a present of honey vinegar and it is absolutely ideal for this, but don’t worry if you can’t find it.

Pickled pears

I kg firm pears

450g golden granulated sugar

500ml cider vinegar

100ml honey vinegar

10 peppercorns

6 cloves

1 cinnamen stick

2 sprigs of thyme

Peel, halve and core the pears. Boil the other ingredients and add the pears. Poach for about 15-20 minutes until softened. Remove the pears and put them in a sterilised jar (I find they fit exactly into a standard sized parfait jar). Boil the liquid until reduced by a third to a half and pour over the pears. Seal and label.

If you have any liquid left over let it cool and use as a dressing on pear and walnut salad.