Sunday, October 28, 2012

Homemade Pear Butter The Lazy Girl's Way

Most of my happiest times in the kitchen are when I'm making something completely from scratch. I love experiencing the farm to table connection--knowing where my food comes from and taking a few simple, whole food ingredients and transforming them into a dish that is as impressive as it is simple with my own hands right in my own kitchen. It's incredibly satisfying to me.

One farm to table connection that I enjoy tremendously is belonging to an organic co-op from which I receive a box of organic produce every other week. I recently accumulated quite a generous supply of pears since we've been getting either Barlett or Bosc pears in every box lately and no one in my family has been eating them. I don't know why that is--we like pears! Not our favorite, but we still like them. Anyway, faced with about a dozen overripe and slightly bruised pears in my refrigerator bin, I decided to make some pear butter with them. I found the perfect recipe at a wonderful new-to-me cooking, gardening and farming blog called Farmgirl Fare. I love this site and will be sure to visit it often. I encourage you to check it out, too--especially if you like growing and eating your own fruits and vegetables.

If you ever find yourself interested in making pear butter, I cannot recommend enough that you try Farmgirl Fare's method that she outlines in detail in her post Recipe: How To Make Really Easy Low Sugar Pear Butter in the Oven (with step-by-step photos). This is the best pear butter recipe EVER. It's so incredibly easy and wow does it taste amazing, too! The only caveat is that you have to have a food mill for this method. I don't have one, but borrowed my friend's. I think I'm going to ask Santa for one for myself.
Jars of Homemade Spiced Pear Butter
Here's my version of Farmgirl Fare's recipe and photos from my day spent making pear butter yesterday:

Pear Butter 
5 lbs. really ripe organic pears (I had Bartlett and Bosc) 
1/2 cup sugar 
4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice 
2 cinnamon sticks (or 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon) 
1 teaspoon whole cloves (or 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves).

Cut the pears into chunks. Don't even peel or core the pears. Perfect for lazy girls and boys.

Run pears through the food mill over a big bowl. Okay so you can't be lazy here. It's a bit of an arm workout, but honestly not so bad.

All that remains after running 5 lbs. of pears
through the food mill. 

5 lbs ripe pears yields approximately
8 cups of pear purée
Run pear purée through the food mill again for a smoother purée, if desired. I did this right over the baking dish in which I'm going to bake the pears.
Running the pear purée through the food mill again
to ensure a smooth pear butter.
Add sugar and lemon juice to pear purée and stir well.

Pour the pear mixture into a 13x9 glass or ceramic baking dish. Add cinnamon and cloves to the pear mixture.
Cinnamon sticks and whole cloves
added to pear mixture... ready for the oven.
Bake in a 300 F oven for 3-6 hours or until the pear mixture thickens to the consistency you like, stirring once in a while. You can be lazy that whole time if you want to!

The longer you bake the pear butter, the thicker and richer the flavor. I like mine thick like softened butter. The flavor is more intense and it spreads on bread just like butter, but so much healthier for you!
Finished pear butter.
Remove pear butter from oven and you're done!

You have a few different options for storing your pear butter:
1. Transfer the pear butter into clean glass jars with lids and store in your refrigerator for several weeks.

2. Transfer some of the pear butter into a clean glass jar to store in your refrigerator for several weeks and freeze the rest! I like to freeze foods in glass jars, but I know a lot of people are not comfortable freezing glass jars because of the potential for breakage if the jar falls out of the freezer. In that case, you can also use plastic containers or those plastic zip-top bags.

3. Spoon your pear butter into 4 oz. or half pint canning jars, leaving 1/4" head space at the top and processing in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Be sure to run a knife through the pear butter when you've spooned it into the jars to get rid of any air pockets before you process them in the water bath. This is the method I chose to do so that I could gift some pear butter to friends for Thanksgiving or Christmas.

And that's it! Sounds pretty easy, right? I hope you give it a try the next time you have some overripe pears on hand. Or maybe you'll let some pears get overripe just to make this delicious, low sugar pear butter. If you do, dont' forget to read through Farmgirl Fare's entire post on How To Make Really Easy Low Sugar Pear Butter in the Oven (with step-by-step photos).

Some serving suggestions for pear butter:
+spoon onto your morning oatmeal
+spread on bread or toast
+stir into plain yogurt
+spread on a cheese, ham or turkey sandwich
+spread on a cracker topped with a bit of brie or other favorite cheese
+any other suggestions? 

Do you like fruit butter? What's your favorite kind?

Do you ever can fruit or vegetables at home?

Other posts I've written on canning and home preserving:
Home Canning Tomatoes
Grape Plum Jam (refrigerator jam)
Putting By
{Super Easy} Golden Raspberry Jam 
Jam Session  (Soft Strawberry Jam)

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Weekend Cooking, a weekly blog event hosted by Beth Fish Reads. Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food related post to share--a food related book review (fiction or nonfiction), cookbook review, movie review, a recipe, random thoughts, gadgets, food quotations, photographs, etc. Please visit Beth's blog for more information and join the fun! 

Note: your post does not have to be posted on the weekend, but do visit Beth's blog over the weekend to link up your post. 


  1. Yum! This is a very easy way to make fruit butter. One of my favorite fruit spreads is banana jam -- it's thick like a fruit butter and Oh so good. I'll have to post the recipe one of these days.

  2. Your photos make the whole process so wonderfully clear. The pears we are getting in the store right now are as hard as rocks, but this recipe is one to keep in mind for later.

  3. The colour of that homemade pear butter, it's beautiful :) I'm afraid that the average Dutch person sticks to his/her "appelmoes" or sweetened apple butter. I've never heard of other kinds of fruit butter before myself. I think I'd eat it plain from the pot ;)

  4. Pear butter looks delicious! I love Farmgirl Fare -- she's in Missouri. Her garden tips have saved me numerous times.

  5. Yum. Sounds good. I need a food mill. I made raspberry puree recently. I could have used a food mill then. I ran it through cheesecloth a few times instead.

  6. Looks delicious! I hadn't realized this before, but I need more fruit butter in my life!

  7. Ah, another local farm girl! Beth Fish Reads and I also get our veggies from our local CSA, though this week was the last pick-up of the season here :(

    Mmmmm....the pear butter looks and sounds wonderful! My older son and I LOVE pears (especially Bartletts), my husband likes them, and my younger son is allergic to them (and many other fruits) but cooking them destroys whatever protein he reacts this sounds great for my family! Will have to try it.

    I picked up some pumpkin butter at Trader Joe's recently - soooo good on toast or pancakes!

    Enjoy your pear butter -


    Book By Book

  8. My mouth is watering just reading this - it looks incredible!

    I found a yummy pear and chestnut soup recipe in Dorie Greenspan's "Around My French Table" cookbook. (I love the cookbook because she puts so much thought into each recipe and she writes long, detailed stories to explain each of them. I love reading them - I've only made a handful of the recipes, but I've liked all of them.)

  9. Hope you, your family and friends are all safe from the storm. Thinking of you all!

    And the pear butter looks amazing. Which reminds me, I need to go and put my stewed apple in the fridge :)

  10. Beth F, This was my first time making fruit butter this way. I loved how easy it was and I didn't have to worry about burning it in a pot! Banana jam sounds really good! We eat A LOT of bananas in my house. Do share the recipe sometime.

    Fay, The pears we've been getting in our co-op box are pretty hard, too. We just neglected to eat them for 2-4 weeks so they ripened up quite nicely for this recipe.

    Chinoiseries, I was so pleased when I opened the oven that last time and saw that rich russet colored pear butter! I think apple butter is most common here, too.

    I admit I did lick the spoon and scrape up as much of the pear butter from that baking dish as possible. I ALMOST lifted the whole dish to my face to lick it clean. ;)

    Joy, Yay! So nice to hear someone else in my circle of friends who visit Famrgirl Fare's site. I'm so happy I found it--I'm sure it's going to save me numerous times, too. I have to go back and read her posts on green tomatoes--I've got quite a few of those right now.

    Linda, Raspberry puree! Yum! What did you use it for? My first thought is over chocolate cake. ^_^ My friend's food mill is classic model and works great. I've got my eye on the OXO one. It's a more expensive but it has three different hole sizes for the mill. I think raspberry seeds would have gone right through the mill I borrowed from my friend. Something to keep in mind when you shop for one.

    Laurie C, Fruit butter is awesome--intense flavor, low sugar goodness! I hope you try it sometime.

  11. Sue Jackson, Oh Boo! on your last local CSA box! The farm down the street from me just had their last one last week, too. This was their first season doing a market box and I think it was well received in the area. They're not organic, though, so I'm sticking with the co-op I've been with for the last 13 or so years. It works differently than a CSA. We get as local as possible during the growing season and a lot of local storage crops over the winter [squash, root vegetables, apples, pears, etc.] but then the rest of our produce comes from warmer climate zones until spring again. Anyway, I'm sure you're going to miss your CSA box immensely over the coming months! When does it start back up again? March or April?

    Bartletts are my favorite too!! I don't know why I wasn't eating them.

    My husband and older daughter have a similar fruit allergy. We figured it out, though, after mentioning it to my daughter's pediatrician who then suggested we see the allergist about it [we already see an allergist for my younger daughter's eczema]. The allergist diagnosed her with a tree-pollen food allergy also called Oral Allergy Syndrome. She basically avoids the fruits that give her problems or has them in small amounts and then she rinses her mouth out well with water after she's finished eating. She has the most trouble with apples (although some varieties are okay like Empire apples), nectarines, peaches and cherries. All of her favorites, sadly. Thank goodness she's okay with berries.

    Oh I have had that pumpkin butter from Trader Joe's before. I used to have it on butter crackers. It was like pumpkin pie with crust! SO YUMMY!

    Clio's Musings, OOoh pear and chestnut soup sounds really good. I so rarely buy or eat chestnuts, but always want to when I see them in the markets. I love reading detailed stories with recipes, too. It's like a friend sharing their recipes and stories with us, right?

    orannia, Stewed apples--yum! I bet the house smelled good today! :)

    Thanks so much for checking in on us! I have to admit I'm more nervous for this storm than I've ever been. Hurricane Irene caused so much damage to our town last year and they are predicting Sandy to be worse? I don't know what's going to happen. Fortunately we are not in the flood zone in my town, so we likely won't have to evacuate but families along the river have to evacuate their homes by 2pm today [in 5 hrs]. Hopefully it's just a safety precaution and everyone will be safe and their homes intact when it's all over. Thanks for your thoughts! xo

  12. That's a great recipe!! Sadly, pairs rarely survice that much in my house 'cause my mom likes to put them on salads.

    But i'll check out Farn Girl's site, anyway, to see what else is there.

    Thanks for sharing the recipe

  13. Your pear butter sounds delicious. I've never had pear butter, but apple butter is a big deal here. MIL usually cans some every year since they have a huge apple tree in their yard. I've never canned, but you make it look so easy that I may have to start!

  14. christine, I hadn't heard of pear butter before. Looks good. Thanks for linking in. Cheers

  15. I love Farmgirl Fare too, and I will definitely be giving this recipe a try! Love that rich color :) I think you might be using your jar tongs upside down btw (the curved side wraps around the jars much better)

    1. Hi Nicolita, thanks for stopping by. I hope you get around to making some pear butter.
      And yes, you are RIGHT! I had been using my jar tongs upside down!!! Someone pointed that out to me when I posted my photos of the process on instagram last year when I made this, so I've since been using them correctly. It was Marisa McClellan, blogger and author of Food in Jars no less! So embarrassing!!! ;)


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