Saturday, September 4, 2010

Pear Butter

For the past two days I've run into a fellow homeschooling mom and both times she's been loaded down with pears.  We had a big storm blow through last night and this lady's mother was picking pears off her tree like crazy before the branches broke in the storm. 

I've never been one to turn down free food, but I just didn't know what to do with pears--neither Schnickelfritz nor the Toolman had requested pears to eat before.   It turns out you can use pears almost any way you can use apples--pies, sauce, butter.  We are awfully fond of apple butter on biscuits and cornbread so that's what I decided to try.

Fritz was quite excited to see the Squeezo food strainer I had assembled in the kitchen; it was a recent ebay find.  "That's some machine!" he said.  I promised he could not only look at it but make it work before the day was done.  The pears went into a large stockpot on the stove while we started our schoolwork.    When they were sufficiently softened we started to load them into the Squeezo.   Fritz, who is destined to be an engineer some day,  interrupted the work several times so that he could look from a different angle.   When his curiosity was satisfied he was more than happy to turn the crank or push down the pears.  He was also close at hand when I disassembled the strainer to clean it.

At this point what we had was pear sauce and we both agreed that it would be fine to leave it in that form--the taste was delicious, but we had pear butter as our goal.  We loaded it all into the crockpot and added nutmeg, cinnamon, and allspice.  We left the lid off to allow steam to escape.  The boiling down took  the rest of the day.  In fact, I finally filled 4 pint jars at about 10:30 at night; long after Fritz had gone to bed.  He didn't get to taste the results till this morning on cornbread.  The whole family agreed it was a hit.

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