Fall is the time of year when we start getting lots and lots of pears from our orchard here at Safe Haven Farm. Pears are pretty difficult to work with most of the time, but we’ve got a process down. And we really love our recipe for pear butter (which is like apple butter, except with pears). It’s not a recipe you should waterbath, so if you’re looking for preserves that will last a few years, this isn’t a good one. But a few months works just fine.
After you pick the pears, it’s best to let them sit for a while to ripen all the way. I’m not sure if all pears are like this, but ours are. We have wood pears here, and you have to let them sit for about two weeks after you pick them just so you can get a knife into them.
Once they’re soft enough to cut, rinse them off.
After you rinse them really well, quarter them and cut out the cores and seeds. It’s also a good idea to cut out the bad spots or dark spots. Also be on the look out for fibrous bits. They won’t hurt anything, but they’ll make the texture of the pear sauce grainy.
Fill up a pot with pear quarters and water and boil it until the bears are soft.
Then, it’s time to SQUEEZO!
The Squeezo is the best invention on the face of the planet. If you’ve never used one, it’s great stress relief. You dump the cooked pears into the hopper, turn the crank, and the bad parts of the pear come out the side while the good pear sauce runs out the ricer down the spout and into your waiting bowl.
For our recipe, we like to get around eight cups of cooked pears. For eight cups of pears, you need eight cups of sugar and one cup of unsweetened pineapple juice.
Then, you put in the spices. We don’t really measure. But I’m guessing it’s around a tablespoon of cinnamon, a teaspoon of ginger, 1/2 a teaspoon of nutmeg, and a 1/4 teaspoon of cloves.
Throw it all in and cook it until it boils. Then, once it’s boiling, keep stirring it and cooking it until it reduces by about half. It’s probably around 2 to 3 hours.
Then, ladle it into sterilized jars, pop the flats on, screw on the rounds and bingo! Farm-fresh pear butter! They will probably seal pretty quickly, but remember that since they aren’t waterbathed, they won’t keep on a shelf for more than a year or so. And once you open them, be sure to keep them in the refrigerator!