Use perfectly ripe golden Bartlett pears for this recipe, not green ones. This is the perfect opportunity to use up pears that might be getting a bit soft. This rich and complex Brown Sugar~Pear Butter recipe is perfect for spreading on toast, but try it with whipped cream cheese on a bagel, or in recipes, like layering it in the middle of oat bars or to top off Jam Thumbprint-type cookies.
Nothing says autumn is in the air like the heady scent of Pear Butter simmering on the stove. When you're making it, keep in mind this recipe is easily doubled or tripled, so if you have a large enough heavy-bottomed preserving pan, I strongly suggest you make a big batch. It'll soon become a family favorite!
Some fruit butter recipes call for adding quite a bit more liquid (cider or water) to the fruit, but this one doesn't. This recipe requires a very small amount of water...just enough to keep the fruit from sticking. Adding more water will dilute the fruit butter and require more cooking time as well.
Variation: If you like vanilla, you'll love the option of adding it to this recipe. Brown Sugar & Vanilla are naturals together!
- 3 lbs ripe Bartlett pears, ~ 5 large pears (no brown spots or bruises)
- 1/4 cup water
- 1-2 cups brown sugar, more on this in step 7 of the directions
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp ground allspice
- 1/8 tsp ground cloves
- Optional: 1/2 vanilla bean (or 1/2 tsp vanilla extract if you don't have a vanilla bean)
Note: Prepare canning jars before starting your preserving project.
1.) Wash, then quarter and core pears, placing them in a heavy-bottom preserving pan as you work.
2.) Add 1/4 cup water. Do not add more liquid, the pears will create liquid as they cook!
3.) Bring to a simmer over low heat, then cover tightly with a lid to keep heat and moisture in.
4.) Simmer for approximately 20 minutes, or until pears have softened, then remove pan from heat.
5.) Mash pears with a potato masher until they are mushy (approximately 15-30 seconds.)
6.) Place food mill over a bowl, then scoop pear mush into the food mill. Crank away until all that remains in the food mill is a small amount of pear skins/peels. Discard or compost the skins.
7.) Measure the pear puree back into the preserving pan, keeping track of the amount of pear puree you end up with because you'll want to add half that much brown sugar to the pear puree mixture. (For example, for 2 cups of pear puree, you'll add 1 cup of brown sugar.)
8.) If using a vanilla bean, add it now, then add the remaining spices into the pear puree mixture. Stir well to combine.
9.) Cook approximately one hour over low heat, simmering constantly. It will be more of a burble than a simmer, because of the thickening nature of the pear butter.
10.) Once desired thickness has been achieved, remove the preserving pan from the heat and, if using the vanilla bean, remove it and split the bean down the middle with a sharp knife. Using the edge of the knife, scrape the tiny seeds back into the pear butter, and stir well.
Helpful tip: If you are using vanilla extract instead of a vanilla bean, add it at the end of the cooking process, when you would normally be removing the vanilla bean. If you add the vanilla extract before cooking, much of the vanilla flavor will be diminished.
11.) Using a wide-mouth funnel, spoon pear butter immediately into hot sterilized jars, leaving 1/4" headspace.
12.) Look for any air bubbles in the jars and if you see any, use a chopstick or plastic knife to pop them before wiping rims clean.
At this point you can either cover jars with tight-fitting lids (and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 months, or in the freezer for up to 6 months) or you can process by following these steps:
13.) Place a sealing lid on the jar, screw on a band until finger-tight then wipe jar rims spotlessly clean with a dry paper towel.
14.) Process for 10 minutes in a Boiling Water Bath. (If needed, add extra hot water to be sure jars are completely submerged before covering Boling Water Bath Canner with the lid.)
15.) Remove jars with a jar-lifter and place on a towel on the counter in a draft-free place. Let rest for 24 hours, then check for proper seal before storing.
16.) If jars lids seal, store them in a cool, dark place for up to one year.
Note: Check lids for a proper seal by pressing the middle of the lid with a finger or thumb. If the lid stays down, it is sealed and will easily keep for up to one year in a cool dark place. If the lid springs up when you release your finger, the lid is unsealed. Place unsealed jars in your refrigerator and eat within 3 months, or within one month after opening.
Find more delicious pear recipes at USA Pears!