Hi pals. In addition to having a really cute dog, my pals Natalie and Dave have a pear tree in their backyard. I was really excited to hear this. It’s quite surprising and fun to find out about all the fruit that grows wildly in Chicago. In the past year or so, I’ve found apricots, cherries, apples, and pears, just hanging out in friends’ yards. Natalie and Dave were generous enough to let me come over to their house and pick a bunch of pears. Hanging out with them is always fun, and it was a great end of summer evening.
I knew I wanted to make some kind of spread with the pears, but I didn’t know what kind… Did I want jam, jelly, or just preserved pears? Pears don’t really lend themselves to making jam, I don’t really have enough time to make jelly at the moment, and I didn’t feel like buying the big jars for preserving whole pears. What’s left to do? Pears and apples have a sort of similar texture, so I googled “pear butter” and found a lot of recipes for pear butter online. I used this one as inspiration, but kind of followed my own ideas too.
3 quarts pears, quartered and seeded (I think the kind I picked were Bosc, in the future I would suggest Bartlett, or a creamier variety)
1 bottle Riesling
3 cups sugar
1 lemon, halved
2 TBS dry fennel (add more if you like)
1/2 TSP cinnamon (I used this very intense cinnamon, in the future, I might not put it in)
1. Prepare all ingredients
2. Place ingredients in slow cooker
3. Cook covered on low for 12 hours (this is great while you sleep or at work/school… You can prep the ingredients the night before and pop them in the fridge and then pop them on before you leave home for the day)
4. Strain, reduce further on the stovetop, or continue in the slow cooker
5. When your butter has reached the desired thickness, you can get ready for canning.
6. Canning is complicated the first time you do it, but once you know what you are doing, it’s pretty easy. Like riding a bike, MUSCLE MEMORY. I’d like to write out a detailed explanation about canning, but this guide is a good start, and contains all the safety information you need to know.
7. Please keep in mind that you don’t need all of the accessories that they talk about on the canning website. I get by fine with a tall stockpot, tongs, and a soup ladle. If you decide to do it this way, be careful with the glass on the bottom of the stockpot and make sure your tongs and ladle are sanitized.
8. After you’re done, let the pear butter rest for 24 hours before you put it away. If any of the jars are unsealed, throw them away… they’re no good!
9. Enjoy your pear butter on toast or waffles. Or just eat it by itself.
After the pear picking, we headed to Rootstock were we gave the kitchen some pears. Duncan, the chef made us a big platter with the pears paired (haha) with Benton ham. It was delicious, and if you’ve not had Bentons ham or been to Rootstock, I would highly suggest doing both.