So I just discovered pear butter! I have been making apple butter every season for a while now, and I remember when my mom would make it while I was growing up, and it was so delicious! But I never realized that you could make the same thing out of pears, until my mom gave me some pear butter a few months ago! And it was just as, if not even more delicious, than the apple butter. I think I may now actually prefer pear butter as the tastiest if I had to choose, and I especially like it because the texture comes out a little bit creamier! It is delicious on toast, pancakes, or your favorite waffles!
I still don’t have a ton of time to spend in the kitchen, which is a main reason that I do not really enjoy canning. So…I made this recipe in my crockpot similar to the apple butter recipe, to minimize the required hands-on time. And it worked out great!
Here are a couple of tips I learned along the way, as I researched recipes and instructions on making pear butter.
- Use ripe pears
- Do NOT use Asian Pears for this recipe. (“So Easy To Preserve”, a research-based preservation guide from the Cooperative Extension of the University of Georgia, warns that canned Asian pears can develop botulism, unless they are acidified first before canning.) So for this recipe, I used Bartlett pears, which do not need the extra acidification.
I used the following recipe from the preserving guide I mentioned above, but added some orange extract and spices to make it even more delicious (and used ⅛ the sugar)! If your crockpot is big enough, feel free to double the recipe (I did). The added orange flavor is delicious – you will really love this! This is seriously the most delicious fruit butter I have ever tasted.
HOW TO MAKE HEALTHY CROCKPOT PEAR BUTTER
(makes 4 half pint jars)
1 tsp orange zest
⅓ cup orange juice
½ tsp orange extract
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp Allspice
½ tsp nutmeg
⅛ tsp cloves
½ cup sugar (optional)
- Grate zest from a fresh orange.
- Put the orange juice and orange zest into the crockpot you will be using to cook the pear butter. The orange juice can be either freshly squeezed or bottled orange juice (I grated the orange zest from the peel, and then used all of the juice from the orange. Because I didn’t have any bottled juice on hand, I then used reconstituted orange juice from frozen to supplement the remaining amount of orange juice called for in the recipe, and it turned out great!)
- Wash, core, and peel pears. Cut them into quarters. As you cut the pears, put them in the crockpot and mix them with the orange juice. This will help to keep the pears from turning brown.
- Once all of the pears are in the crockpot, turn the crockpot to low heat. Allow the pears to cook for 2-3 hours, or until they start to break down and become very soft, as shown below. You can then use an immersion blender to blend the pears into a smooth puree (or blend the pears in batches in a blender or food processor, then put the puree back into the crockpot).
- Add the orange extract and spices, and stir them into the mixture.
- Once the spices and extract have been mixed in, taste test the puree. If you are happy with the flavor and sweetness, no need to add any sugar! If you want it a little sweeter, add up to ½ cup of sugar. (This is MUCH less than the 4 cups of sugar called for in the original recipe.)
- Take the lid off of the crockpot, and allow the pear butter to cook for an additional 2-3 hours, or until the liquid has evaporated, and you can take a spoonful of the pear butter and not have the liquid separate out of it. It will reduce down quite a bit in the crockpot as the liquid evaporates (as you can see from the lines in the crockpot below). The pear butter, when done, should be a thick, smooth consistency.
- Enjoy the pear butter right away, or store it in the refrigerator for use over the next few days.
If canning: Pour pear butter into prepared jars, leaving ¼ inch headspace. Follow normal canning procedures to process the jars in a hot water bath according to your altitude. The recommended canning time, using ½ pint jars, is 5 minutes if you live at an altitude of 0-1000 feet. Add 1 minute of processing time for each additional 1000 feet of altitude (according to research-based preservation guide So Easy to Preserve). If you have questions about how to properly can, you can find information on the National Center for Home Food Preservation website. Store your canned pear butter in a cool, dark pantry, and use within one year for best quality.