Sunday, September 30, 2007

Spiced Pear Butter

6 pounds pears, (about 16-20 large pears-ripe)
3 cups apple cider
3 tablespoons whole mulling spices
1 1-inch piece fresh ginger
3 cardamom pods
3 cups sugar

Trim off the stem and blossom ends of the pears- cutting off as little of the pear as possible. Cut the pears into large chunks, and place in a large dutch oven with the apple juice mulling spices, ginger, and cardamom.

Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for about 45 minutes, or until the pears are soft and tender.

Using a chinois food mill or a sieve, press the pear mixture through the sieve- liquid included. Discard the seeds, spice bits and bits of peel remaining.

Pour strained mixture back into the dutch oven. Add 3 cups of sugar and stir well to combine. Return to a boil and cooked, uncovered over medium heat. Stir frequently to prevent scorching.
The mixture will thicken and mound up on a spoon when ready- this could take as little as 45 minutes or as much as 3 hours, depending on the water content of your pears. Just keep an eye on it and stir often.

Once thickened, quickly pour hot mixture into hot, sterilized jars, leaving a 1/4-inch headspace. Wipe the jar rims and cover right away with metal lids that have been softened in hot water. Screw on jar bands.

Process in a boiling water bath at a full rolling boil for 10 minutes.

Makes about 4 cups of pear butter.

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