Friday, October 7, 2011

Making Pear Butter (or Apple Butter)

Lately my son and I have been going on very long bike rides around town and discovering this new little town we moved to. On one of our trips I noticed a pear tree covered in pears, dropping fruit all over this alley. I saw the owner of the house and asked him if we could pick some pears. He said, "Sure, but they are rock hard." I picked a bunch of the pears made the trip home with all of them.

I put the "rock hard" pears in a paper bag and set them it a closet. I checked on them 2 weeks later and was very happy to see soft, ripe, pears! (This works on green tomatoes too!)

Anyways, I decided to try making some pear butter with these pears. This was my first time attempting any sort of jelly type of canning, so it was quite the adventure and I am glad how it turned out! Also, this entire recipe can be made with apples, resulting in apple butter. Just replace all the words that say pear with apple and maybe add some cinnamon into the spices.

To start this whole process, you will need to make a pear sauce (like apple sauce.)

First wash your pears.
Peel, slice, and core all your pears.
Now you need to cook down your pears. I had about 20 small pears, so I added them to a stockpot with 1/2 cup of water, and 1 teaspoon of lemon juice.
Bring it to a boil and turn the heat down to a simmer. Simmer for 30 minutes until pears are super soft.
Once they are soft they will look something like this:
Puree your soft pears either in a blender or a food processor.
You should end up with some yummy pear sauce. Now at this point, you could keep the pears this way if you wanted to serve homemade pear sauce. It tasted really good! However, if your goal is to make pear butter, you need to measure how much pear sauce you ended up with. I had 1.5 quarts. The amount you have will determine how much to add of all the spices.
Place your pureed pears in a crock pot (large enough to hold it.)
And then add your spices. You will need nutmeg, sugar, cloves, allspice, and 1 large orange.
I ended up adding 2 teaspoons of nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon of all spice, 1 teaspoon of cloves, and about 2 teaspoons of orange rind.
Then I squeezed the juice from the orange to about 1/4 cup and added it to the pear sauce.
And then of course, to make it more jelly like, you need to add sugar. I added 1 1/2 cups of sugar. The measurement of spices, juice, and sugar is all up to you. Add some in, taste it, and make it your own. My rule always when cooking is to add a little at a time, taste, and add more if needed. I barely ever measure.
Stir it all together.
To make the thick, creamy consistency of pear butter (or apple butter) you need to have the water evaporate while cooking. To do this in a crock pot, place some butter knives under the lid so the lid is elevated a little. It will allow the steam to escape and the water to evaporate.
Cook on low for 12 hours and stir every so often. You will end up with something like this dark, creamy color.
Now it's time to can! Canning can be very dangerous because if it is not done correctly you can get botulism....which from what I heard is terrible and can be deadly, so before you attempt canning read a book on it or a few websites.

Items for canning:
small jelly jars with unused lids and rings
jar grabber
large stock pot for water
lid grabber
canning funnel

To start, you need to have your jars sterilized and hot! To do this, boil them in some water for about 15 minutes. In addition, heat your lids in hot water too. Do not boil the lids because it can effect the seal. Keep this water on the stove boiling. It will be used for the hot water bath. You need to have enough water in the pot to cover your jars with at least 1 inch of water.
With you jar funnel (which is sterilized), place it in the sterilized jelly jar and fill it with the hot pear butter. The pear butter needs to be hot to create a seal for the lid.
Fill the jars until they are about 1/4" from the top rim. Wipe off any pear butter that might have gotten on the rim of the jar.
Use your jar lid grabber and place a hot lid on top of your jar. Place the ring around the jar lid and tighten.
Put them in the pot of boiling water and keep them cover with at least 1 inch of water and boiling. (People say to use a canning pot, which I think because it is coated so your jars won't break. I didn't have a problem with that, but it might be a good idea to invest in.) Boil for 15 minutes.
Use your jar grabber and remove the jars from the hot water. Be careful, they are hot!! Let the jars cool overnight and in the morning check to see if the jars have sealed. To check to see if they have sealed, just press in the center, gently, with your finger. If it pops up and down (it will make a popping sound) it is not sealed. If they aren't sealed you will need to refrigerate them, but more then likely they are seal and you now have your very own homemade pear butter!
Hope you enjoy it!

~Beth

No comments:

Like This?- Pin It!

Related Posts with Thumbnails
 
Copyright 2009 Between 3 Sisters