Pear Relish

canning pears

It’s pear season and I’m hoping the pears at Sunshine are going to hang on the tree this year. Last year all the pears fell off in early June when they were still small, a one-time climate glitch I hope and not foretelling of the end of our century-old tree. My mouth is already watering at the thought of those pear preserves and, if there’s just too many, maybe room for a little of Vanny’s pear relish?

But therein lies the question, WHICH pear relish? M. Douglass who grew up down the road a few miles, recalled to me a specific recipe that I was able to track down in an old Macon cookbook at Sunshine authored by a “Mrs. E. V. Yates”:

4 qts pears
4 qts onions
8 green bell peppers
4 red bell peppers
12 cucumbers
2 hot peppers
(all “ground”)

4 c sugar
6 Tbsp dry mustard
2 Tbsp Tumeric
8 Tbsp flour, sifted
2 qts vinegar
1 c salt

Grind and drain all vegetables. Salt and drain. Mix dry ingredients to a paste with a little vinegar. Stir, bring to boil and boil 5 minutes. Add vegetables and pears and boil 3-4 min. Seal hot. Makes 2 gallons.

M felt that this was the recipe he remembered as Vanny’s (“Miss Evie” to him) which, a) ironically, sounds a lot like E.V. and b) he recalls seeing in an old Noxubee County Extension Cookbook. However, later on I came across a recipe in Vanny’s handwriting in one of Sunshine’s oldest cookbooks that was starkly different:

30 pears
4 green peppers
1 hot pepper
1 large can pimientoes
1 box raisins
4 onions
3 c. sugar
2 1/4 pints vinegar
3 Tbsp salt
3 Tbsp white mustard
3 tsp celery seed

pages from Vanny’s cookbook, pear relish recipe on left.

I have never made either but aim to try at least a small batch this year!


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