My parents have two Bartlett pear trees in their back yard. Every year, it goes something like this: The trees blossom and grow and ripen. My dad gets excited, my mom hardly notices. The pears start to fall and my dad, the middle of 5 kids, picks till his little heart is content, assuming that my mother will jump at the idea of pies and jams and such to preserve the food like his mother did. My mom is an amazing homemaker & wife, but she's just not that interested in the waste or saving money, she has the luxury of not having to be. So the pears sit. And rot. And attract fruit flies, which upsets my mother. It's ugly.
This year, in a heroic effort to keep the peace (not to mention get a ton of free organic pears), I decided to do something about it. On Monday, the 4 of us (My Parents & Nick & I) had a pear cleaning party and I made 20+ jars of freezer jam (admittedly using instant pectin and white sugar, not the best stuff for you, but the pears had already started to go bad. It was a time thing.) You can also make completely pectin-free jam in your bread machine, if it has a setting. If it does, there will be a recipe in the manual. That's not to say that pectin is bad. You can actually extract your own from apples or crabapples, which aren't good for much else. Instant pectin has some added preservatives though. I also froze some wedges to turn into pies in the future.
Today I made unsweetened pear sauce (like apple sauce, only not) in the crock pot. I just cleaned the pears & wedged them & tossed them in the crock pot on high with some lemon juice. Once there was a considerable amount of liquid gathered in the pot (about 3 hours) I processed them and put them back on low for another hour. I then poured it into sterilized jars and lids & boiled for 20 min. I'm waiting to hear the pop pop pop of vacuuming jars serenade me tonight.