I am so thankful that fall is right around the corner, and one thing I love about fall is the fruit. Apples, figs, pears...they are all wonderful. My mom and I got together recently and canned some pears from her backyard tree. She came in with a bucket of pears that we estimated was around twenty pounds just by looking at them, but when weighed, ended up being double that amount. Apparently I am not very good with visual estimating when it comes to pears. Our plan to make one recipe with pears quickly turned into us scurrying around to plan several things to do with them. One of the things we ended up with, and I am so glad we did, was this Spiced Pear Butter.
This butter is so good! It has a slightly coarser texture than your more typical apple butter since pears are a little grainy, but it makes for an interesting end result. The spices are definitely present without being too assertive, and I thought it was a little quicker to make than apple butter since it didn't have to cook down quite as long. The cooking time could vary, however, due to the type of pear being used. The ones we were using were old-fashioned pears that are hard even when fully ripe so they are not quite as juicy and not as good for eating out of hand. I am sure the recipe would turn out perfectly fine with other pear varieties but may need to cook a little longer.
I have tried this butter on biscuits and toast, but it is also very tasty stirred into plain yogurt with a little Fruit and Nut Granola sprinkled on top. I also think it would be heavenly smeared atop a stack of pancakes in place of the standard syrup or served with pork on a fall evening. It would also make a fabulous gift for the holidays.
So, if you're looking for something comforting and familiar while still being a little different, consider giving this a try.
Spiced Pear Butter- makes approximately 6-7 half-pints
This recipe was adapted (the spices only) from Tart and Sweet. It was originally supposed to have cardamom in it which would be delicious but happened to be almost fifteen dollars when I went to purchase it, so I changed the quantities of the other spices to compensate for my lack of cardamom. If you wish to use cardamom, add 1 teaspoon of it with the other spices, but cut the cinnamon and nutmeg from 3/4 to 1/2 teaspoon each.
6 pounds pears, peeled, cored, and cut into chunks
Juice of 1 lemon
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp ground ginger
3/4 tsp grated nutmeg
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground cloves
Prepare your canner, jars, and lids.
Place the pears, lemon juice, sugar, and spices in a large, heavy bottomed pot. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer approximately one hour until the pears are soft and can be smashed with a wooden spoon.
Puree the mixture in a food processor or blender until smooth. Return the mixture to the pot, and simmer over medium heat, stirring frequently to prevent scorching, for 20-25 minutes until the butter mounds on a spoon and no liquid seeps around the edge of the mound.
Ladle the hot mixture into hot, sterilized jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles from each jar. Wipe the jar rims, and top each jar with a sterilized lid and ring. Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Remove the jars to a towel to cool for 24 hours before labeling and storing.