Pickled pears

I recently posted a picture of the pickled pears I made for Christmas and now here's the recipe... 

 Ingredients

1kg pears (I used small, underripe pears from my Mother and Father-in-law's garden)

350g sugar (I used a combination of light and dark soft brown sugar) 

550ml white wine vinegar

1/2 orange cut into slices

1/2 tsp cloves

1 dessert spoon Szechuan peppercorns

1 star anise

1 dessert spoon mustard seeds

 Method

Whilst peeling the pears, place all the other ingredients in a large saucepan on a low heat until the sugar has dissolved. Keep the peeled pears (with stalks intact) in a bowl of cold water until all are prepared and the sugar has dissolved. Place the drained pears in the spiced vinegar mixture and bring to a gentle boil. Cook the pears for 10 minutes then turn them and cook for a further 10 minutes.

Transfer the pears and orange slices to a sterilised preserving jar using a slotted spoon. Boil the spiced vinegar vigorously for 5 minutes until there is about 400ml left then pour it with the peppercorns and spices into the jar with the pears. Top with a wax disc, seal and allow to cool. The pears will keep for about 6 months and are best if left for a month to mature before opening.

Spices, sugar & vinegar warming in the pan. 

Spices, sugar & vinegar warming in the pan. 

Peeled pears simmering in the spiced vinegar. 

Peeled pears simmering in the spiced vinegar. 

Pickled pears all jarred with spiced orange & pepper vinegar. 

Pickled pears all jarred with spiced orange & pepper vinegar.