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Closing the Loop on Pear Butter

August 28, 2015
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Fruit butters are a simple and perhaps a relatively old fashioned way to preserve fruits.  You don’t need much beyond the fruit itself to make a successful end product.  Fruit butters do not require pectin, and additives such as sugar, honey, or spices are purely optional.

In discussing the plan to make pear butter with The Gardener, I learned that he has a preference for the pure form of fruit butter.  No added ingredients if at all possible.  Works for me!  Pears are quite sweet, so no added sugar is needed.  I did add a bit of spice and some lemon juice, but only the bare minimum.

The pears pictured here, when peeled and pureed with a cup or so of water and the juice of two lemons, filled a 5 quart slow cooker with another 4 quarts or so in a Dutch oven on the stove.  I added 1/2 of a cinnamon stick and one whole clove to each pot.  The main trick of the trade here is stirring. Even the puree in the slow cooker required stirring, so this is not the sort of thing one can put on the stove and walk away.  Stir, stir, stir.

It took about 15 hours over the course of two days to cook nine quarts (36 cups) down to 7 1/2 pints (15 cups). To test for doneness, put a spoonful of butter onto a dish and watch for liquid to seep out around the edges.  If nothing seeps out, it’s done.

I poured the very hot butter into very hot jars and set them on a rack to cool.   Two of the jars didn’t seal, so they went into the refrigerator.  The rest are on the shelf with no additional processing.  Skipping the boiling water bath is not necessarily recommended, but some older recipes will say it’s OK to skip.  By the time I hit the 15 hour mark, I was more than ready to skip that step.  If history is any indication, these jars will be empty sooner rather than later, so no worries about shelf life.

Fruit butters are awesome on toast, biscuits, and even pancakes.

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