Although traditionally made with just apples, Apple Butter is yummy when you combine apples and pears to make Spiced Apple and Pear Butter. I like to use a combination of apples and pears, for a richer, more complex flavor. Try serving it warm over vanilla ice cream. Making 3 pints or 6 half-pint jars of homemade Spiced Apple and Pear Butter.
|Spiced Apple and Pear Butter||
- 9 tart apples, such as Granny Smith, peeled, cored and chopped
- 8 pears, such as Bartlett, Seckel or Williams, peeled, cored, and chopped
- 1 cup apple juice
- 1 cup pear juice (I used white grape)
- 2 large cinnamon sticks
- 4 thin slices fresh gingerroot
- 12 allspice berries
- 8 cloves
- (4) Seeds of 4 cardamom pods
- 3 cups sugar
- Get the jars and lids. Sterilizing the dishwasher is fine for the jars. Be sure to let it go through the rinse cycle to get rid of any soap!
- Start heating up the water in the canner and the small pan of water to boil the lids. Personally the trick I use is that I run the jars through whatever my last load of dishes was and then leave them in the dishwasher. (I think I am like a lot of people in that I pre-rinse most of my dishes before loading them in the dishwasher anyway, right?) Then after washing with soap and other dishes, I just wash them again with no soap.
- At this point you are ready to start making your recipe – go ahead and get the water-bath canner water started heating. Let it get up to a boil and then turn it off if you are not yet ready for it. Keep the lid on it to retain heat and steam evaporation.
- Lids: Put the lids into a pan of boiling water for at least several minutes. This helps soften the sealing compound of the lid. This is why the little lid lifter with the magnet is cool, because they get very hot. I have also found it good to layer my lids in an alternating fashion in the pan, so they don’t stick to each other.
- Put the apples and pears and both juices in a nonreactive saucepan, with the spices, including ginger, tied in scalded cheesecloth (cloth spice bag). Simmer for about an hour until the fruit is tender.
- Remove the bundle of spices and, with a stick blender, blend the fruit until smooth, or rub it through a sieve into another nonreactive saucepan. Stir in the sugar and put back the bundle of spices.
- When the sugar has dissolved, simmer the mixture until it thickens, about 40 minutes. Great use of crock pot!
- Fill the jars to within 1/4 inch from the top, wipe any spilled food from the rim, put a lid on and hand 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 and up to 1,000 ft, boil pint jars for 5 minutes and quart jars for 10 min.
- Carefully lift the heavy jars out of the water and let them cool without touching or bumping them on a towel in a draft-free place overnight You can then remove the rings if you like.
- 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 within a week or so. Make sure you label and date them.
- Use within 12 months.
You can apply this method when making any fruit butters, depending on availability. Consider a luscious peach or apricot butter in summer, or a plum and pear butter later in the season.
Michael loves gardening, cooking, canning and playing with the kids. Teaching Max and Jonathon about Cooking from Scratch, and Living with the Land.
Photo credit: Wolfworld on Flickr’s Creative Commons