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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The perfect pear....

This week, a trip to my favorite local orchard got me a half peck of pears for $8.  EIGHT DOLLARS!!  The reason I got them so cheap is because they were "seconds" - not aesthetically perfect and very very ripe.  Which was PERFECT for my purposes!   I really really wanted to try my hand at pear butter, so off to the orchard I went and came home with the most delicious, sweet fruit. The first round of pears I got this season from my gracious coworker (for free!) was put into pear bread.  Which, yes, I did share with her.  (Funny side note - this year I have been gifted a lot of fruits and veggies.  I think people are on to the fact that if they give me stuff, I will turn it into delicious food and share it with them.  I'm fine with this!)

Now, there are many good recipes out there for pear butter.  But I found (as I often do) that one had elements that I liked but lacked something that I wanted, or sounded good except for one ingredient that I didn't care for for this purpose.  So I did what I always do:  I "invented" my own pear butter recipe!  Now, here's a glimpse in to the Krista vernacular - my hubby will frequently find me in the kitchen looking very intent and deep in thought (usually in my super cute cherry apron!) and ask me, "Whatcha doin?", even though he KNOWS the answer.  To which I usually just respond "inventing __________".  Which he also knows means that he is either in for an amazing meal or dessert, or I will end up swearing and ordering pizza.  Usually it's the first one, sometimes the second.  But, hey, a lot of cooking is trial and error.  You'll never have the big victories if you don't have the big failures.

So, the hardest part about making this recipe is peeling and coring and cutting the pears.  If you can do that, you can make this!  The biggest thing you need for this recipe is patience.  If you have that, you're golden!  Of course, I canned mine, since you can only eat so much pear butter in a short amount of time.  I got nine 8 ounce jars out of this recipe. Yield may vary slightly, however, depending on the size of your pears.

Brown Sugar Vanilla Spiced Pear Butter
1/2 Peck of pears
1 c Brown sugar
1/2 c White sugar
1/3 c Lemon juice
2 T Vanilla
1 T Cinnamon
1 t Ground Ginger

Tools needed:
Big pot
Canning equipment
See?  Silky smooth!

Wash, peel, core and cut pears into large chunks.  Place pears on medium heat, stirring constantly.  When mixture starts getting hot.  Once it heats up a bit (boiling is not necessary), turn down on low.  You don't want the pears to scorch.  Stir often.

Once the pears are soft and cooked, run them through a food processor until smooth.  Return puree back into pot and return to heat.

Add the lemon juice, sugars, vanilla and spices.  Keep cooking and stirring the mixture until it thickens.
This thickens up quite nicely.  All it takes is patience.

 Remove from heat and can, ladling hot pear butter into hot jars and boiling covered on high for 10-15 minutes. You can also store in refrigerator.  If you do can, any jars that do not seal, place directly into the refrigerator and use within a few weeks.

And there it is.  So easy!  I just ate some on an English muffin and it was AMAZING!!  There are so many different elements in this recipe - the lemon adds brightness (and acidity for safe canning), the vanilla and brown sugar adds richness and warmth, and the cinnamon and ginger adds spice.  It is a perfect balance of flavors, in my opinion.  This will definitely be a yearly canning project!

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