Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Pear Preserves & Pear Butter

I've been canning pears this week.  I always prepare ahead by looking through my canning books, which I love to collect, and write down favorites and look for something new to try.  I thought I would share some of the new and old favorites recipes for pears.

Ginger Pear Preserves

This is a gorgeous looking preserve!  The pears, ginger root, and touch of lime make it a delicate, delicious preserve.  This is one of my favorites.  

If you are not familiar with preserves they are similar to jams but with chucks of fruit suspended in a soft jelly.  No pectin is used and they are cooked until a gel stage is reached.  Preserves are delicious on breads and muffins but also make ice cream and cake so much better!  Try them with crepes, on pancakes or mixed in your breakfast oatmeal.

5 1/2 cups  finely chopped cored peeled pears
Grated zest and juice of 3 limes
2 1/3 cups granulated sugar
1 tbsp of peeled and grated ginger root

1.  Prepare your canner, jars, and lids.
2.  In a large stainless steel saucepan, combine pears, lime zest and juice, sugar, and ginger root.
3.  Bring to a boil over medium heat stirring to dissolve sugar
4.  Boil gently stirring until mixture thickens about 15 minutes.
5.  Remove from heat and test.
6.  If gel stage has been reached skim off foam.  If not continue cooking for 5 more minutes and repeat gel test.
7.  Remove from heat and stir for 5 minutes to help fruit stay suspended
8.  Ladle hot preserves into hot jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace, adjust lids and rings
9.  Place jars in canner and process for 10 minutes.  Adjust for altitude.  I have to process for 20 minutes.
10.  Remove canner lid and wait 5-10 minutes then remove jars to cool.

Gel Test

Dip a cool metal spoon, I keep it in the refrigerator, into the boiling soft spread. Lift the spoon and hold it horizontally with edge down so the syrup runs off the edge.  As the mixture cooks the drops will become heavier and will drop off the spoon separately but two at a time.  When the drops join together and "sheet" off the spoon the gel stage has been reached.

Refrigerator Gel Test

Chill a small saucer in the freezer.  Place a teaspoonful of soft spread on the saucer and in the freezer for 1 minute.  Be sure to turn off stove and remove the spread from heat so it does not burn while you do this test.  Remove the saucer from the freezer and push the edge of the spread with your finger.  If it has reached gel stage the surface will wrinkle when the edge is pushed inward.

Pear Butter

Butters are smooth creamy spreads.  They are made by slowly cooking pulp and sugar.  Spices are added.  You must have patience.  The long cooking time evaporates the moisture thickening the spread.

To Test for Doneness
Butters are cooked until they hold their shape on a spoon.  To test for doneness chill a saucer and place a spoonful of spread on the plate. When liquid does not separate and forms a rim around the spread it is done.

7 lbs of pears peeled, cored and coarsely chopped
Grated zest and juice 1 lemon
1/2 cup of water.

Combine above ingredients.  Bring to a boil and gently boil for 15 minutes.
Working in batches press mixture through a food mill.  

Measure 8 cups of pear puree.
4 cups sugar
Grated zest and juice of one orange
 1 tsp cinnamon

Stir in sugar, orange juice and zest and cinnamon..
Bring to boil reduce heat and simmer until it thickens and holds its shape on spoon.

Ladle into hot jars with 1/4 inch headspace.  Process 10 minutes adjust for altitude.  I process 20 minutes.

Remove canner lid and let it set 5- 10 minutes.  Remove jars to cool.

Butters make an excellent filler for layer cakes.  For another delicious dessert slice a pound cake spread with butter, top with fresh fruit, vanilla pudding and whip cream.  My favorite way to use butters is to spread them on grilled cheese or ham and cheese sandwiches. 

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