Adventures in Food Preservation

Spiced Pear Butter

It’s fall, and around the Pacific Northwest fall means apples and pears. A couple weeks ago I went with some ladies to Hood River during their harvest festival, where we drove around the “fruit loop.” We visited 4 or 5 farms and looked at hundreds of varieties of apples and pears. I bought some pretty red pears, the name of which now escapes me. I’m not big on canned pears, the texture kind of freaks me out, so I made some pear butter, with a little twist.

I followed the basics from the Ball Blue Book:

  • 6 to 7 pounds of pears
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp. grated orange peel
  • 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/3 cup orange juice

Prepare a pear pulp. I did this by rough chopping the pears (didn’t bother peeling) and quickly steaming them. I then put them through my new fruit strainer attachment for the Kitchenaid.

This thing is awesome! I used it for applesauce a few weeks ago and it made such quick work of those apples and the pulp it leaves behind is all but dry, so you know you’re using all the good stuff.

Add your sugar, juice, and spices. Here’s where I deviated a bit. In addition to the orange zest and nutmeg, I threw in a couple cinnamon sticks, about 15 cloves, and a couple coins of sliced fresh ginger.

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(Adding herbs and spices won’t hurt a canning recipe but don’t change amounts of sugar, lemon juice, etc., unless you plan to eat the product right away or consult a canning expert to make sure the recipe is still safe to can.)

Simmer over low heat until it’s thick enough to round over a spoon. This took me quite a while, maybe 2 hours. Stir it every now and then to keep it from sticking.

Fish out those spices.

Ladel hot pear butter into hot canning jars, adjust caps and process 10 minutes in a boiling water bath.

I love the color, it’s darker than normal pear butter because I left the red skin on them.

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