Easy Pear Butter
Another Use for a Bumper Crop of Pears
A friend of mine has a pear tree produces a bumper crop of pears year after year. The problem is she is a school teacher, and the pears ripen during her busiest time of the year making it impossible for her to do anything with them. Last year I asked her, since she wasn’t able to use them, if I could pick them and use them myself. She said I could, so I went to her house and loaded the trunk of my car with pears. I spent about a week canning pears. I also made some of the pears into pear sauce to cook down into pear butter. I like to do this project after the first of the year after the holidays when life is no longer hectic (and the heat from the kitchen is a benefit, not a curse). On the second week of January, I finished putting the last jar on the shelf. Here’s my recipe.
A Low Tech Way to Prepare the Pears for Making Pear Butter
To make pear butter, the first thing I have to do is to cook and sauce the pears. There are any number of ways to make the sauce. I know of several appliances or tools I can have used to help me in the process. The lowest tech way that I know to use to sauce pears is to pare off the skins, and remove the seeds. I then place them in a large saucepan on the stove, and fill the pan about one fourth full of water. I add the pared and cored pears and cooked the flesh in a saucepan over medium heat until the pears can be crushed with a potato masher. Next, I would drain the excess water in much the same way I would drain the water from potatoes if I were getting ready to mash them. I would mash the pears with the potato masher until the sauce is smooth, and all the lumps are removed.
Canned Pears and Pear Butter
Making Pear Butter
I do not use the lowest tech way. Instead, I use a hand-cranked machine that is made for that job. I make the sauce using a strainer I got from Lehman’s. It is a neat tool that I am able to take cooked pears. Put then into a hopper, turn a crank, and the peels and seeds come out one end while the sauce comes out the side. I use this hand-cranked machine for not only the pear butter, but I also use it to make applesauce, tomato sauce, pureed pumpkin, and remove the seeds when making blackberry jelly.
Once I have the pear sauce made, I can either put it into a crockpot or into the oven, but an ideal tool for cooking down pear butter is an electric powered roasting pan. Begin cooking down the sauce on high in the crockpot or electric roasting pan, or 350 degrees Fahrenheit if using the oven. Cook down until pear butter is thick(varies depending on moisture content of pears). Be sure to stir the pear sauce every half hour or so to prevent scouring, because if the pears scorch, the pear butter will not be any good. When the pears are thickened, add ¼ cup of honey or ½ cup of sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, ½ teaspoon nutmeg, ½ teaspoon ground cloves, and ¼ teaspoon ginger for EACH quart of finished butter made.Add these ingredients only after the pears are cooked down to the desired thickness, If you have 1 quart of butter you used the recommended amount above. If you have 2 quarts of the finished product, you double the added ingredients. Reduce the heat to low and continue cooking for another half hour; be sure to stir about every fifteen minutes or even more frequently to prevent scouring.
Strainer Used for Making Pear Butter
Canning Pear Butter
Pour prepared butter into half-pint or pint sized sterile jars, cap (using sterile caps and rings) , and process in water bath canner for 15 minutes. If there isn’t enough to fill another jar, place into bowl and place in the refrigerator to use right away. In my experience, uncapped pear butter will usually keep in the refrigerator about 30 days.