At the very end of August, we harvested close to 50 pounds of fruit from our two D’Anjou pear trees. I filled my refrigerator with bags of pears for their required chilling period. In the last couple of weeks, we’ve pulled pears out of bags and placed them on our counters to ripen. They are deliciously sweet and juicy!
While a good 10 pounds of the pears have gone to the chickens due to bruising or other imperfections in the fruit, I’ve been busy making use of the other 40 pounds. Last week I prepared and canned many quarts of pearsauce — just like applesauce, but made with yummy pears.
This week’s project has been preparing and canning spiced pear butter. Pear butter, like apple butter, is non-dairy and simply called butter because of its richness and thick texture.
I peeled and cored about half of the pears before slicing them into chunks. With my patience running out, I simply sliced the remaining pears and tossed them all into two large pots. After adding close to half a cup of Meyer lemon juice (from lemons grown in Mill Valley — thanks, Meg!) to each pot, I steamed the pears until soft, then processed them by hand in my food mill to remove remaining skins, seeds, and cores.
The next step was puréeing the pears down further with my immersion blender and allowing the mixture to cook for a few hours, thickening or reducing it and intensifying its flavor.
This giant batch of pear butter contains pear purée, Meyer lemon juice, orange juice and zest, a small amount of brown sugar, minced ginger, and nutmeg. When held in a teaspoon, it maintains a mound shape, unlike pearsauce.
With today’s water bath canning task completed and over a dozen pints of pear butter stowed away for gifts and our own enjoyment, I feel ready to step away from the stove. Toast with a dollop of pear butter, anyone?