Last week I came across a great sale on Bartlett pears so I bought a dozen with the thought that they would make great pear butter. I carefully rotated the pears in their tray every day for a week to encourage even ripening and maximum flavor. Finally, they were all beautifully ripe and ready to process into pear butter.
I thoroughly washed the pears and then cored and roughly chopped them into eighths. I packed all of the pieces into my crockpot and added 1/2 cup water, the juice and zest of one lemon and a half tablespoon of chopped crystallized ginger to get them started. I set the crockpot on high and left them cooking for about three hours. When I came back, the pears had given up lots of liquid and become quite soft so I scooped them out of the crockpot and ran the pieces through my food mill. Then I poured the resulting pear puree back into the crockpot to continue cooking down on low temp with the lid slightly cracked so steam could escape.
I left the pears cooking overnight and by the next morning the puree had reduced by half and was thick and darker. I tasted the mix for sweetness and decided to add about 3/4 of a cup of honey, a very small pinch of vanilla salt, a generous pinch of freshly grated nutmeg and the fresh juice of 2 oranges. After another 15 minutes, the pear butter was ready to can.
I had previously prepared my canning jars, lids and rings according to the manufacturer’s instructions and I had my water bath canner boiling and ready to go. I assembled my work space and got busy filling one dozen 4 oz canning jars with the delicious smelling pear butter. After the jars were filled, I placed them in the canner and processed for 10 minutes, then removed them to cool and seal on the counter.
Using the crockpot and the OXO food mill made this recipe so easy, I didn’t have to stand and stir for hours thanks to the crockpot and I ended up with a beautiful smooth texture thanks to the food mill. If you don’t have a food mill you can either force the fruit pulp through a fine sieve, or, core and peel the pears at the beginning and then use a stick blender to puree the pulp right in the pot. This was the first time I have used a food mill and I really liked using it.
The next morning I served the first jar on top of homemade whole wheat biscuits and my family really enjoyed it.
If you don’t already can, I encourage you to try it! If you do can and you have any tips, tricks or advice for me, I would love to hear from you. Please feel free to comment below.
(This post also appears as part of the “Patchwork Living Blogging Bee #6 at www.attainable-sustainable.net)