We found a good deal on pears at Grocery Outlet last week so today we're making a batch of pear butter because I'm pretty sure we've gone through everything we had in our pantry.
Here is the recipe for anyone else who might be interested; from Sunset Home Canning, 1993 edition:
Caramel Spice Pear Butter
Caramelized sugar and a trio of sweet spices lend this fragrant pear butter its distinctive flavor. It's perfect for cool-weather breakfasts; try it on hot toast or English muffins.
7½ pounds (about 15 large) firm-ripe Bartlett pears
2 cups water
6 cups sugar
1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon ground ginger
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Core pears, but do not peel them. Slice pears and place in a heavy-bottomed 8- to 10-quart pan. Add water; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Then reduce heat to low, cover and cook until pears are tender when pierced (about 30 minutes). Let cool slightly, then whirl in a food processor, a portion at a time, until finely chopped. Return to pan.
Place 1½ cups of the sugar in a wide frying pan. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until sugar carmelizes to a medium-brown syrup. Immediately pour syrup into a pan with chopped pears (syrup will sizzle and harden, but dissolve again as the mixture cooks). Stir in remaining 4½ cups sugar, cinnamon, cloves and ginger until well blended.
Bring mixture to a boil over medium high heat, stirring. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, stirring often, until thickened (about 45 minutes); as mixture thickens, reduce heat and stir more often to prevent sticking. Stir in lemon juice just before removing from heat.
Ladle hot pear butter into hot, sterilized half-pint jars, leaving ¼-inch headspace. Wipe rims and threads clean; top with hot lids, then firmly screw on bands. Process in boiling water canner for 5 minutes. Or omit processing and ladle into freezer jars or freezer containers, leaving ½-inch headspace; apply lids. Let stand for 12 to 24 hours at room temperature; freeze or refrigerate. Makes about 9 half-pints.
Storage time. Processed: Up to 1 year. Unprocessed: Up to 1 month in refrigerator; up to 1 year in freezer.
Per tablespoon: 45 calories, 0 g protein, 12 g carbohydrates, 0 g total fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 0 mg sodium
It's a lot of work, but well worth it in Jeff's opinion. =)
We usually reduce the sugar; today we're trying 4 cups total. We've found jams and butters to be plenty sweet with sugar reduced by up to ½ the recipe calls for. I've also successfully tried substituting Splenda for sugar, but we're not doing that today. We have a lot of sugar on hand so I'm trying to reduce that oversupply.