Saturday, September 10, 2016

Pear Butter

It's Raining Pears!!

Our old pear tree is heavy laden with pears this year!
The branches are breaking down from the weight.
I don't recall seeing so many pears in all of our 36 + years here on this farm.

We aren't even sure what kind they are, just that it's a very old tree
that never gets pruned or never sprayed for bugs.
It just gives us lovely shade on our back deck ...

Pears are one of our granddaughter's favourite foods. 
She says "Num Num" when she sees them.

The farmer has crawled up the step ladder as high as it is safe to do so
to rescue some of those beauties.
They are rock hard and keep ripening once picked.
You have to catch that perfect "in-between hard and too soft" stage.
A few have ripened and now what to do ...

Options are canned pears, pear jam, pear sauce, pear pie filling,
or why not pear butter?

Here is the recipe I used:

14 Cups chopped pears (unpeeled and quartered). I cut the blossom ends out and removed the stems. Also cut out any blemishes and bruises.
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh ginger
1 star anise
1 Cup water
Juice from one lemon (save the zest)

Cook this in a large heavy pot till the pears are completely soft (30-40 minutes).

Discard the star anise and press the fruit through a food mill or chinoise to make sauce.

This made approx. 6 Cups of sauce. Discard the pulp and put the sauce into kettle to boil down.
1 Cup sugar
Lemon zest from one lemon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
You can adjust the sugar to taste but I found that 1 Cup was enough for this small batch. I saw one recipe that recommended 1/2 Cup sugar for each Cup of sauce - a bit much I think?

Cook on medium heat, stirring often to prevent sticking and burning. This takes time (about 2 hours) and babysitting. Ladel into hot sterilized jars and seal. This batch cooked down to about 4 1/2 pint jars of butter. 

Taste notes: The star anise added a wonderful flavour. I am looking forward to trying this on tea biscuits with a spread of cream cheese - Num Num. I would probably make a double batch next time to make the effort more worth while.

Till next time - watching the pears drop/ripen and trying to figure out what to do with the rest of this bountiful harvest! 

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