A little over a month ago, I decided to embark on a journey I have not taken in a while: Canning. On a whim, I decided to buy a box of pears from “The Pear Guy” in Washington and try canning them using Xagave. I have canned before…. A LONG, LONG time ago. As a child, my mother would haul my siblings and me over to our grandmother’s house on the weekends to pick apricots from her massive apricot tree. This tree was always dripping with huge apricots, and we would spend at least a month transforming apricots into jam, preserves, and our favorite, apricot syrup. The adventure was always a sticky mess, but the resulting deliciousness always made the tree splinters and burned fingers worth it. So, determined to conjure up old memories, I added my name to the neighborhood list of ladies who pulled together to bring these juicy Bartlett Pears down to Utah from Washington.
Now, I have to be honest. My plan was two-fold. I am a working mother of two, wife of one, and I do not get the chance to be domestic very often. I saw this opportunity as one of those rare occasions where being domestic means something more than doing laundry and cleaning the house. I work full-time, and my current position is the VP of Marketing and Sales for BetterBody Foods. I have used Agave Nectar for a couple of years, so I was hooked on it before I joined the company. But I have never used it for canning. Although we have several people who can with Xagave regularly and love the results, I had to try it for myself. So, not only did I need to quench my desire to domesticate, I also needed to personally see how canning works with Xagave.
Last night after returning home from work, my mother-in-law and I canned our pears. She bought a couple of boxes of pears, too, and I needed her to guide me through her wonderfully smooth process of blanching, peeling, and coring. With her guidance, and my 11 year old daughter’s help, I stuffed my newly acquired quart jars with naked pear halves and covered them with the light syrup I made following my mother-in-law’s pear recipe, substituting sugar with Xagave of course. We made sure all the trapped air bubbles were free and the jar mouths were clean, we put the lids on the jars and immersed them in the water-filled canning cauldron. After the water started to boil, we waited the allotted 35 minutes (adjusted the standard 25 minutes by 10 minutes for the higher altitude), let the water cool a bit, pulled the jars out of the pot to rest on stacked newspaper…. and Viola! This is the end result. I feel so domestic!
My primary intent in using Xagave to can my pears was to see how well it worked. What I wasn’t expecting was my mother-in-law to use sugar to can her pears and to have a direct visual comparison of Canned Sugar Pears vs Canned Xagave Pears. The previous picture is not the best. I took it with my iPhone at 9:30 at night. It is a little dark. I took the following picture this morning with better light. Can you tell which jar was canned using sugar, and which jar was canned using Xagave?
If you guessed the jar on the right as the Xagave jar, you are correct! If not, don’t stress. The difference is almost unnoticeable. That’s my point. Canning with Xagave is just as simple and easy as canning with sugar. I did not have to do anything special just because I chose to use Xagave to can with. All I did was substitute 1/2 cup Xagave for 1 cup Sugar. But the smell while canning was definitely different. There was no sticky candy smell, only the smell of fresh, sweet pears filled my kitchen. Now I have 14 beautiful jars of canned Sugar Free Bartlett Pears, and I can’t wait to try them!
—Sabrina Beck, VP of Marketing and Sales, BetterBody Foods & Nutrition