Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Pear Butter Tutorial

Lovely, lovely pears. They speak fall to me.

I am an East Coast girl, and I grew up eating something called apple butter on my toast. Apple butter is like jam but fruitier and less sugary. It's very much like pureed, cooked fruit. When I learned to can in high school with my mother, she made this amazing pear butter and I've been smitten with it ever since. This recipe is straight from the Ball canning book. Besides the pears (about 20) you will need:

Cute canning jars~ I like using many different shapes and sizes but you don't have to. They must be impeccably clean.

You also need canning rings and 1 time use canning lids (not pictured). Also necessary is a heavy duty straining machine (ours is from an Amish store) and a giant canning pot and general canning tools~ a wide mouth funnel, canning magnet, jar lifter, etc. You probably remember a lot of this from last year.

So, wash your pears, take the stickers off, quarter them, then cook them until very tender in your stock pot. Yes, I know the cores and stems are in there too. Trust me. You can add 1/4 c. water as you cook if you must to prevent the pears from sticking and burning.
Run all of your pears through your lovely strainer.
Return the silky smooth pears (sans stems and cores) back to your stock pot, and add 4 c. sugar, 1/2 tsp. fresh nutmeg (yes, fresh is definitely worth it~ I don't have any of the bottled stuff in the house actually) and if you wish, 1/4 c. fresh orange juice and 1 tsp. orange zest. I didn't add any of the orange this time. Cook it all until it's thick and you can mound it on a spoon.

As your pear butter cooks, sterilize your jars and lids for 10 minutes in boiling water.

Like my ladle, James? I happen to love it.

Ladle the hot pear butter into the sterilized jars using your canning funnel. Place the lids on top and secure with the canning rings. The jars go back into the canning pot and when the pot begins to boil again, set your timer for 15 if you are living at sea level. I, however, live quite a distance above sea level, so I must process my home canned goods for 25 minutes.

Set out your jars to cool on a cutting board lined with a kitchen towel to absorb any drips. This is the best part of canning: if you've done everything correctly, throughout the evening you will hear all of your jar lids spontaneously "pop" and this tells you that they are now vacuum sealed and ready for storage in your pantry for a long time to come. But, in my house, when the kids hear the words "pear butter", they line up with spoons~ with or without bread. See? I've already got one in line!

1 comment:

Rebecca said...

I've never had pear butter before...

must try that sometime!

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