In 15 weeks, most will be in a Christmas tizzy getting last minute items purchased for friends and family. But this weekend made sure I am much less frazzled. Why? Because I have great neighbors. My husband harvested 75 beautiful Bartlett pears from their trees before the deer found them. It was heavenly to have these luscious fruits all over my countertops and I knew I would put them to use in one of my favorite recipes, Pear Butter. It is so much fun to transform fruit into fruit butters. The process is the same as you would use for apple butter. Cook them over medium-low heat to soften them up, then purée, add flavorings and can it into deliciousness. I cooked mine in apple juice, then flavored it up with orange. It is marvelous … and just like that, Christmas is done!
Yield: 2-1/2 pints
12 large ripe pears, cored, sliced and peeled
2 cups apple juice
2 cups sugar
3 tablespoons orange juice
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
Place the pears and apple juice is a large Dutch oven over medium-low heat. Cover and cook 45 minutes or until the pears are soft, stirring occasionally. Drain and purée in a food processor until smooth (or use an immersion blender).
Combine the purée with the sugar, orange juice, zest and nutmeg in the same Dutch oven. Cook over medium heat for 15 minutes until mixture thickens, stirring frequently.
Transfer to hot jars, filling to 1/4-inch from the rim. Remove air bubbles, wipe jar rims and add lids. Process in a boiling water bath for 5 minutes. Remove and place on a wire rack to cool at least 24 hours.