Monthly Archives: August 2014

Brandied pears in honey vanilla syrup

This is one of Carson’s all-time favorite canned goods. Last year we didn’t make nearly enough, so this year Carson picked tons of pears and then left for weeks on a fire, ensuring that I’d become responsible for them. Have you ever noticed that pears don’t ripen politely? One day they’re hard and green and the next day, BANG, you better use them or lose them.

pearsThis recipe is really easy, as canning goes (which is always a worthy but time-consuming process). I’ve given basic instructions here, but if you’ve never canned before you should read up on it first. It’s not hard but there are a lot of steps!

The syrup is 1 cup honey for every 3 cups water. For 10 quarts of pears, I used 12 cups of water/4 cups of honey. Heat this on low in a big pot on the stove.

Meanwhile, pour 1/3 C brandy in each clean jar (make sure you’re using new lids!), plus 1/4 of a fresh, split vanilla bean. I add a few black peppercorns to about half the jars, just for variety.

Peel the pears- this is the worst part. I cut the very top off, peel to the bottom, cut the bottom, cut it in half, and do a little funky side cut to get the tiny core out. You’ll find the way that works best for you.

As you work on the pears, put the cut pieces into a large bowl of water with some lemon juice or citric acid (1 tsp is plenty). This will keep them from turning brown.

Once you have all your pears done, dump them into the jars and smoosh them down a bit. If you don’t, you’ll end up with tons of room in the jar, like the one on the right:

honey pears

Pour the hot syrup over them, leaving 1/2 inch head space; wipe the rims of the jars, add the lids and rings, and process in a boiling water bath for 25 minutes.

These are perfect straight from the jar or over vanilla ice cream. Added bonus: use the syrup to make a fun cocktail!


Honey sticks are here!

At long last and by popular demand, Carson and Bees is excited to finally offer HONEY STICKS! For now they’re available by special order and at the Redwood Valley Farmers’ Market (Sundays in Lion’s Park from 9-12). The price is 25 cents each, or five for a dollar.

like copper A five-gallon bucket of early harvest honey was hand-delivered (special thanks to our friend Matt for pulling that off on a road trip) to the honey stick-making facility in Oregon a few weeks ago, and yesterday we got three boxes in the mail containing 4,400 gorgeous golden wands.

As I was trying to figure out how best to photograph them, I realized they were already sitting in the middle of a perfect summer still life: sunflowers from Black Dog Farm, peaches from Elmer’s Orchards, and honey from us right here at Carson and Bees. (You can find all three of us at the market on Sunday, incidentally.)

honey sticks


Reflections on 4-H and the fair

Carson grew up in 4-H and, among other activities, raised pigs. Attending the Redwood Empire fair in Ukiah this past weekend made us here at Carson and Bees reflect on the importance of 4-H, FFA, and other programs for children and young adults. It also brought home how critical a community is for instilling values and a good work ethic among those kids.

This blog post could have been written about our local fair, which makes my heart swell with pride and my eyes fill with tears (being the resident sap). It’s worth a read if, like us, you value these programs and the community’s support for them: “On Sunday my son sold his pig.”