October 10, 2011

Slow-Cooker Pear Butter

I mentioned the other day that we took a trip to an apple farm a couple of weeks ago.  We came home with a box full of apples and pears that weighed in at 33 lbs!

{This is our box, not completely full, but getting there!}
If I had to guess, the box was about 1/4 apples and 3/4 pears.  Last year that ratio was reversed and I didn't have to worry so much about using our apples right away since they keep so well in the refrigerator.  Pears on the other hand don't keep quite as well, even in cold storage, and so I had to go to work straight away to make sure that none of the pears went to waste.

To use up our pears last year I made a pear butter based on a recipe I found online.  I made some adaptations to the recipe and it turned out so beautifully that I kept the recipe in mind for future use.  This year because we had so many pears I made a double-batch and I want to share my recipe and method with you.

Slow-Cooker Pear Butter

Ingredients:
   5 lbs pears, peeled, cored, and sliced into eighths
   1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
   1/3 cup honey
   1/2 cup water
   2 Tbsp lemon juice
   1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
   1/8 teaspoon salt

Directions:
   Combine all ingredients in an electric slow cooker (mine holds 4-quarts and works fine for this large recipe). Cover and cook on low 10 hours or until pears are fork tender.  Once the pears are cooked, use an immersion blender to puree the mixture.  If you don’t own an immersion blender I think that a food processor would work well too.  Cook this pureed mixture uncovered on low for 1 to 2 hours or until the mixture has reached your desired thickness.  Be sure to stir occasionally to prevent burning during this step.  Yield:  Approximately 5 cups.  Stored in an airtight container the pear butter will keep in the refrigerator for about two weeks.


A few notes:  I use pears that are not quite ripe.  Still firm, but not hard.  I find that because the pears are cooked for so long they will still become soft during cooking even if they are not ripe.  Also, because they still have some firmness to them, they give a nice texture to the finished pear butter (but still different from what you would get from making something like applesauce).  The original recipe, which mine is based on, calls for you to strain the mixture after you puree it.  I find this step unnecessary and the finished pear butter will be quite smooth even without this extra step.  My method saves time and keeps you from getting extra bowls, tools and utensils dirty (because honestly, who want to clean all that extra stuff anyway?)

It freezes exceptionally well and if you have a deep freezer you can keep it for anywhere between 9-12 months.  I speak from experience here because we just used up our last portion of pear butter a few weeks before our trip to the farm.  I defrosted it overnight in the refrigerator and could not notice any significant changes in the flavor or texture.  

We use this pear butter just as we would any other jam or preserves.  My absolute favorite way to eat it is on french toast with mascarpone,


which we did this past weekend.  It was lovely. =)

3 comments:

  1. Oh yum. that looks amazing. I made pear butter once. It was awesome! I used my slow cooker, too, and I do believe wine was involved in my recipe. It's the only thing I've ever canned! I should try that sometime again... but I'll wait till I have a new house and all that jazz.

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  2. Wow, that looks very tasty! I've never canned anything, but it's always something I've wanted to learn from my Mom. I will definitely be showing her this! :)

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  3. The only thing I've ever canned is peach preserves, which I used to make with my grandmother. One of my favorite memories from my childhood. It is certainly something I want to relearn, maybe next summer?

    The nice thing about this recipe is that you can always make half a recipe too. That's what I did the first year I made it. And, it freezes well. For small batches I'm not sure canning would be worth the work! I hope you do try the recipe though, really easy and not too spicy or too sweet. =)

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