Pear butter, like apple butter, contains no butter at all. It is simply fresh fruit cooked down to a lovely, thick, spreadable consistency. This version is lightly spiced and perfect for spreading on toast, but also for dolloping on ice cream or serving with roasted pork.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours, 20 minutes
Yield: 3 to 4 pints
- 5 lbs. Barlett pears (you want pears that will easily fall apart when cooked)
- 1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tsp. salt
- 2-inch piece fresh ginger
- 4 cups sugar
- 6 cardamom pods (optional)
- 1/2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
- Core and chop the pears. You can peel them, if you like, which will lead to a lighter colored pear butter (as pictured here). Put them in a large pot with the lemon juice, salt, and 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil.
- Meanwhile, peel and chop the ginger and add it to the pot. When the mixtures boils, reduce heat to maintain a steady simmer and cook, stirring when you think of it, until the pears are very soft and falling apart, 45 to 60 minutes.
- Run the pear mixture through a food mill or, if you've peeled the pears, you may be able to simply whirl the mixture in a blender (in batches).
- Return the pear mixture to the pot and add 3 cups of the sugar. Stir to thoroughly dissolve and taste. If you want it sweeter, add up to another cup of sugar.
- Peel cardmom pods and crush the seeds in a mortar and pestle or whirl in a spice grinder or clean coffee grinder. Add ground cardamom and the nutmeg to the pear mixture.
- Return the mixture to a simmer and cook, stirring frequently to keep the mixture from sticking or burning, until it noticeably thickens, about an hour. Note: This may take up to 2 hours depending on the pears.
- Transfer mixture to clean pint or half-pint glass jars and store in the fridge. If you want to store the pear butter for longer periods, can it for storage: Sterilize the jars and lids first, ladle the mixture into the jars leaving 1/2-inch headroom, screw on lids, and process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes.