Canning pear butter

I made some pear butter this past summer and it is really thick. If it is too thick can it fall in the same category as pureed squash?

Sheryl Napier
Newport News, Virginia

No, because pears are a high acid food and because you add sugar, a thick product is perfectly safe to can and eat. (Pumpkin or squash puree is a low acid food and thick low acid foods are now considered at risk to can.) Eat and enjoy! — Jackie

Storing brown rice

I would like to know if you have any good information on storing brown rice.

Joshua Viens
Kenai, Alaska

Because brown rice is a whole grain, which does contain some oil, it does not store the best long-term. It will become rancid after a few months — or even sometimes a few weeks — once the bag is opened. It’s best stored in either a refrigerator or freezer. In case of emergencies, when the freezer or refrigerator no longer operates, you can then take the brown rice out and it will still remain good for quite awhile. Keeping it either in the original bag or container or in an airtight package, such as vacuum packing, will keep it even longer. Even though we prefer brown rice, we store a lot of long grain white rice as it will store for decades without any problems if you keep it in an airtight container. — Jackie

Wood usage

Approximately how many cords of wood do you use during a winter?

Suzanne Paquette Richards

We use about 8 cords a winter but remember that we burn our wood stove in the living room and our wood kitchen range as well. (And not all of this wood is prime hardwood; we burn any dead wood that we harvest in our woods, including balsam, pine, and poplar, as well as black ash, a hardwood. In burning “lesser” woods, we not only are given heat but it also lets us clean up our woods as well. We even burn a lot of small-diameter poplar. Right now we are cutting up a whole lot of this that Will stacked two years ago, from clearing a good chunk of our new forty acres. Much of this small wood is two to four inches in diameter, wood which most people would shove into a pile and burn. But it’s great in the kitchen range and heats the house very nicely during the daytime. — Jackie


  1. gen,

    I’m tickled that your dad is getting on board with canning. I often buy more than one turkey on sale around this time of the year (even though we raise turkeys!) just to be able to can them up. The meat is so useful in so many ways. This year I only got one because we have two turkeys to butcher and have just done a batch of big meat chickens. Now it’s canning time again.

  2. Sheryl,

    Yea for you! Wow, I can’t wait until our little pear trees start to bear. I’m glad your pantry is stocking up so well.

  3. a bit off the subject, but someone gave us a 14 lb turkey today. I talked to my dad, and he CAN’T wait to get it roasted and canned in to pint jars again this year. He said he had two pints left from last year’s turkey, and he is dreaming of the pot pies and turkey and noodles he can make from the jars we will can this year. Jackie, you made a believer out of him!
    LOL, who said turkey was just for Thanksgiving!

  4. Thanks, Jackie. That is a relief. It’s a shame I took it out of my Aunt’s gift box but I didn’t want to poison her…oops. I think I’ll go make some bread and try it. My pears really came through this year and I canned a bunch and then made pear butter and jelly. My pantry is not as awesome as yours but I keep working at stocking it. I just love to see the jars on the shelf!!

  5. Hey we have one wood stove and it is in the basement. To heat the whole
    house. I live in Montana. And depending on late a spring that we have, we
    can also burn about a cord a month. for us it can run from 7-9 cords a year.
    If we don’t have to burn in Sept or Oct that much it really helps. And until
    the saw mill closed down we were able to get and I can’t remember what to
    call it but the bark off the trees. They would just throw those out and we
    would pick them up. Slab wood. I could burn them in the early fall if it got to
    cool and then if we had a late went spring. We are now burning but ends

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