You think making and canning your own pear butter is difficult? Well, it used to be! Until crock pots and slow cookers came along!
Now, it's easy! Here's how to do it, complete instructions in easy steps and completely illustrated. The pear butter will taste MUCH better than anything you've ever had from a store.
Prepared this way, the jars have a shelf life of 18 months to 2 years, and require no special attention. A side benefit is that your house will smell wonderful while it is cooking - much better than potpourri!
Yields about 9 - 10 pints
That's right, pear butter, like apple butter, starts with pearsauce! You can use store bought pearsauce (if you can find it), but the pear butter won't taste nearly as good. So if you haven't made some pearsauce yet, start here with how to make applesauce. (You make it exactly like making applesauce) . Otherwise continue to step 2.
Fill the crock pot to within an inch of full with pear-sauce, mine takes about 5.5 quarts. Now, you CAN do this using a regular large pot on very low heat on the stove, but the crockpot works much better, because its heat is very low. I've never had a batch burn in the crockpot.
Set the crock pot on low or medium heat. You should always start by setting the crock pot on low or medium heat. I would recommend starting with low heat because you do not want to risk burning it! If it doesn't get hot enough to reduce in 12 hours, bump the setting up to the next position, and watch more carefully, in case that turns out to be too hot!
Cover it loosely or use a large pot splatter-guard. It will spatter as it boils slowly, so I also cover nearby surfaces with towels. You don't want to seal it tightly because you want the steam to escape so it can reduce in volume and thicken.
A visitor suggests, take a couple of butter knives, and lay them across the top of the crock pot. They are parallel and located about 2/3 of the way out from the center. Then put the lid on these supports, leaving it "covering" the pot and keeping the splatters under control, but, leaving a good gap for steam to escape.
Leave it to cook for 6 - 12 hours. How long depends on the size and power of your crockpot, and how thick you like it, If you want to stir it occasionally, that's fine but not necessary. I let mine go overnight.
It will reduce in volume by about half overnight. As it cooks down (the next morning), add the remaining pearsauce (about 2 or 3 quarts) and 2 more cups of sugar. Then let it cook a couple of hours more to mix the flavors.
Now's a good time to get the jars ready, so you won't be rushed later. The dishwasher is fine for the jars; especially if it has a "sanitize" cycle, the water bath processing will sanitize them as well as the contents! If you don't have a dishwasher with a sanitize cycle, you can wash the containers in hot, soapy water and rinse, then sanitize the jars by boiling them 10 minutes, and keep the jars in hot water until they are used.
Leave the jars in the dishwasher on "heated dry" until you are ready to use them. Keeping them hot will prevent the jars from breaking when you fill them with the hot pear butter.
Put the lids into a pan of hot, but not quite boiling water (that's what the manufacturer's recommend) for 5 minutes, and use the magnetic "lid lifter wand" to pull them out.
You want a smooth, creamy texture, right? The easiest way is to use a hand-held drink blender. It does a great job of making it smooth. You can also put it into a regular blender, but if you are going to do that, you might want to blend the pear sauce before you put it in the crock pot (it will be much thicker afterwards and won't move in a regular blender). Another visitor says running it through a food mill with a fine screen or through a sieve works, too.
Fill them to within ¼-inch of the top, wipe any spilled pear butter of the top, seat the lid and tighten the ring around them. Put them in the canner and keep them cover with at least 1 inch of water and boiling. if you are at sea level (up to 1,000 ft) boil pint jars for 5 minutes and quart jars for 10 min. If you are at an altitude of 1,000 feet or more, see the chart at the bottom of this page.
Lift the jars out of the water and let them cool without touching or bumping them in a draft-free place (usually takes overnight) You can then remove the rings if you like, but if you leave them on, at least loosen them quite a bit, so they don't rust in place due to trapped moisture. Once the jars are cool, you can check that they are sealed verifying that the lid has been sucked down. Just press in the center, gently, with your finger. If it pops up and down (often making a popping sound), it is not sealed. If you put the jar in the refrigerator right away, you can still use it. Some people replace the lid and reprocess the jar, then that's a bit iffy. If you heat the contents back up, re-jar them (with a new lid) and the full time in the canner, it's usually ok.
From left to right:
|Process Time at Altitudes of|
|Style of Pack||Jar Size||0 - 1,000 ft||1,001 - 6,000 ft||Above 6,000 ft|
|Hot||Half-pints or Pints||5 min||10||15|
Q. I would like to make some pear butter with your recipe but I don't want to make a bushels worth. Is there any way you can break down the measurements for me for a smaller amount? I'd like to make a half dozen or so smaller jars worth. Thanks."
A. If you want to make 6 eight-ounce jars, here are the measures to use: