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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Making Pear Butter and Honey

Anjou Pears from my Sister's Tree
October 2009

"A farm cook suggests: Pour coffee for drop in guests and let them spread spicy peach, grape or apricot butter on hot buttered toast. Grandmother made fruit butters for two important reasons that are just as valid today: (1) they taste exceptionally good and (2) they make use of the sound parts of windfalls or culls. Among the favorite fruits for butters are apples, apricots, grapes, peaches, pears, plums, quince, guavas and combinations of fruits."

To prepare pears: Remove stems, but do not core or peel. Quarter or slice. Cook in half as much water as fruit. Add 3 tablespoons lemon juice to each gallon fruit pulp.

Put cooked fruit through food mill or colander. For a superior, smooth butter, sieve the pulp to remove fibrous material.

Sugar: Use white or brown sugar. Brown sugar darkens the light fruits; it gives a pronounced flavor to bland ones. The amount of sugar to add depends on personal tastes, but the general rule is half as much sugar as fruit pulp.

Salt: Add 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon for every gallon of fruit butter.

Spices: Usually ground spices are added, although some people prefer to omit them. About 1 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon each ginger and allspice to 1 gallon of butter is a good proportion.

Whole spices tied loosely in cheesecloth may be substituted for ground spices in making light-colored fruit butters. Ginger is an especially tasty spice with pears. Also, adding 3 tablespoons lemon juice to 1 gallon of fruit pulp steps up the flavor.

Additions to Fruit Pulp:
1. Measure the pulp and sugar into a large kettle; add the salt. Boil rapidly, stirring constantly to prevent scorching. As the butter becomes thick, lower heat to reduce spattering.
2. Add spices and lemon juice, if used.
3. Continue cooking until butter is thick enough almost to flake off the spoon, or as Grandma used to say: "Until it is thick enough to spread." Another test for consistency is to pour a tablespoon of the hot butter into a chilled plate - if no rim of liquid forms around the edge of the butter, it is ready for canning.
4. Pour into hot jars and seal. Or process pints and quarts in hot-water bath 10 minutes.

This September I made pear and orange honey/relish, pear and pineapple honey/relish, hot pepper pear preserves, and pear butter made with brown and white sugar.

For the pear butter I used the following:
12 cups chopped uncooked pear
3 tablespoons lemon juice
Cook pear and lemon juice following above suggestions. You should have about 8 cups pulp after forcing fruit through colander.

To the 8 cups pear pulp, add 4 cups brown sugar, 2 more tablespoons lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger.
Can or process as suggested above.

Mildred's Pear Honey
My step-mother's pear honey is my favorite. This is her easy recipe:
4 cups peeled, cubed pears
3 cups white sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon lemon juice

Combine in a heavy pan and cook, stirring constantly for 25 minutes.
Makes 2 pints or 4 - 1/2 pt. jars.
I add bits the bits of pear that remain in the cooked honey to each jar. By the time I fill the last jar it is mostly honey ~ no pear pieces left!
(I double the recipe and cook for 45 minutes, even though the recipe books advise against it! I had way too many pears not to double recipe.) 

Canning Pears 2009

SOURCES:

Photographs:
Canning Pears, Digital Photographs, 2009. Privately held by Judith Richards Shubert, Fort Worth, Texas.

Books:
Nichols, Nell B.,
Farm Journal Freezing and Canning Cookbook, Doubleday and Company, Inc., Garden City, New York 1963. Judith Richards Shubert Private Library.

Websites:
Produce Oasis, "Anjou Pear," (Online: Produce Oasis Web Site, 2009) http://www.produceoasis.com: accessed October 27, 2009.

5 comments:

Angie Pruett said...

Looks scrumptious and seeing the pictures.....it's "almost" like I just walked in your house and smelled that wonderful aroma!

Judith Richards Shubert said...

Awh, I wish you'd been here to help! Remember our pickle making days?

Apple said...

I just made apple butter for the first time. I'll have to try it with pears.

Judith Richards Shubert said...

This was my first fruit butter and it was really surprising easy. My mother-in-law used to add candy cinnamon red hots to her apple butter. It was delicious. Let me know how yours turns out.

Lisa said...

My friend made this over summer. It was the first time I had it and it was very yummy. Nice post.

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