Tuesday, October 16, 2012
I learned how to can using a water bath back in the spring, and now I'm hooked. Making jams and preserves is fun and rewarding, and I know what I'm giving everyone for Christmas this year! If you want to try your hand at making preserves, fruit butter is a great place to start. When you make jam, you have to worry about getting it to set properly, using the correct amount of pectin and cooking it for the right amount of time. Making butter is simpler, no pectin needed, you just cook it until you reach the consistency you want. To keep your precious butter in your pantry, you'll need to ladle it into sterilized jars, knock out the air bubbles, process it in a boiling water bath canner. Want more information on water bath canning? I picked up a book on small batch canning called Tart and Sweet, which has a great step-by-step section on canning basics and some tasty recipes. Also check out Food in Jars, an amazing blog and canning resource.
Ginger Pear Butter
4 pounds pears, washed, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 tablespoons lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
1/4 ground cloves
1/2 cup honey
Combine all ingredients in a large, heavy bottomed pot. Cook over medium heat until the pears begin to break down, helping them along with a potato masher if you wish. After about 30 minutes, reduce the heat to low and cook for about another hour. Puree in the pot with an immersion blender, or transfer in batches to a blender. Return to heat and continue to cook, if necessary, to desired consistency, which should be thick enough to mound on a spoon. Transfer to sterilized jars and process in a boiling water bath canner for 10 minutes to make butter shelf stable, or allow butter to cool in jars and store in the refrigerator, treating as a perishable.
Makes 4-5 half pints.