Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Another Canning Project: Pear Butter

I'm not sure where I got this idea, but I decided I HAD to make pear butter and can it, so I started to do research.  First of all, I wasn't really sure what pear butter really was.  I had heard of apple butter, it's a preserves-type product that you spread on toast, but I didn't know what made it a "butter".  I still don't know the real answer, but my guess is that it's thicker than applesauce, and that's about it. 

I bought the pears from the Sunday morning farmers' market, they came from Healthy Ridge Farm in Sturgeon Bay, WI.  The farmer recommended using Bartlett pears rather than any other variety since those are cheaper and since you cook it down, you would lose a lot of the finer qualities found in other pears.

It was a relief to make pear butter since it doesn't involve pectin and jelling like my pepper-lime jelly and wine jelly canning projects.  


The recipe I used is a cross between two recipes, the one for the low-sugar content and the other for the cooking method and spices.

Farmgirl Fare low-sugar pear butter 
Crockpot Ladies crock-pot vanilla spiced pear butter

about 7 pounds of pears.
As I finished prepping my pears and adding my spices to the slow cooker, I was checking back to the recipes and had a panicked moment when I realized I hadn't peeled my pears and ALL of the other recipes called for peeled pears.  This was at the point when all of my pears were in the slow cooker in small chunks, which would be kind of difficult to go back and peel them all now!  I had originally planned to leave the peel on mine so they would have the healthy fiber included, but I didn't realize every single recipe used peeled pears or ran the pears through a food mill, which I didn't have.   I decided to put on a brave face and go with it, and it turned out fine.


makes about 8 half-pint jars
  • 7 pounds Bartlett pears, cored and diced (I didn't peel and it was fine)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 

I cored my pears with my melon ball scoop, which worked great, totally recommended. 
Cut up pears, cinnamon, and vanilla in the slow cooker.
I knew this needed to cook for a long time, so I prepped my pears before bed and cooked them from about 9 p.m. on Friday until about 10 a.m. on Saturday. Then I mashed the pears with a potato masher.
Cooked pears the next morning, before mashing. 
For the next few hours I left the lid cocked to the side to allow the moisture to evaporate so it could thicken.  Then I used an immersion blender to whiz it up to smoother texture.
Mashed with a potato masher and pureed with an immersion blender.
By the afternoon I figured it had been cooked down long enough, so I tasted it, added the brown sugar, and proceeded with canning it.  One reminder, it will thicken as it cools, so you might want to stop a little before the final thickness you want. 
Final product, finished pear sauce.
I won't bore you with the canning details, but it went smoothly using my pressure cooker as my canning vessel since I used half-pint jars, which are too tall for the pot I used for canning jelly.
Filling jars with my "new" canning funnel my mom got at an auction.  So handy!
I also used my new canning funnel, which helped me make less of a mess than the last couple times.  I only had to clean off the rim of one jar before adding the lids. 
Lids soaking in the hot water.


I still don't know what pear butter truly is, but whatever this stuff is, it's fabulous!

I forgot that my cinnamon is the Tung Hing cinnamon from Penzey's, which is quite strong.  This was more cinnamon-y than I expected when I tasted it, but I had no way of fixing it.  It ended up being ok in the end because after being refrigerated, the flavor is more muted and it's excellent.

We tasted it warm from the slow cooker and it mainly seemed like applesauce, but later we had a spoonful on some vanilla ice cream and it was like apple pie ala mode, soooo good!  This made me wonder if applesauce would be good on ice cream, haven't ever tried anything like that, but it makes sense. 

Wanna Chat?

I turned off the 'leave a comment' feature, so if you want to share what you're thinking about this or anything else, drop me an email at jhk1013 (at) gmail.com. It's so much more cozy than a comment, plus we can have a real conversation!