Monday, October 17, 2011

Another Taste of Fall

  I realized something the other day, it has been forever since I have made pear or apple butter. My mother made it as we were growing up, and pear was always my favorite. Pear & Apple Butters are kind of a jam meets applesauce mixture that's great on toast and pancakes. Here's my recipe for Caramel-Pear/Apple Butter:

Caramel-Pear/Apple Butter

1/4 cup apple juice
6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, divided  
4 pounds ripe Bartlett pears
3 pounds Gala apples
3 cups (packed) golden brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  Combine apple juice and 4 tablespoons lemon juice in heavy, large, deep pot. Peel, core, and cut pears and apples, one at a time, into 1/2-inch pieces; mix fruit into juice mixture in pot as soon as they are cut, to prevent browning. Cook over medium heat until fruit releases enough juice for mixture to boil, stirring frequently, about 15-20 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer until fruit is very tender, stirring frequently, about 20 minutes (mixture will splatter). Remove pot from heat. Run fruit mixture through the tomato sauce plate of a food mill (I use a Victorio Strainer) into a large bowl. Return fruit puree to original pot. Add 2 tablespoons lemon juice, brown sugar, and 3/4 teaspoon coarse salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered until pear/apple butter thickens and is reduced to 8 cups, stirring every 5 minutes with a flat-bottom spoon to prevent scorching, about 1 1/2-2 hours.
  Ladle pear/apple butter into hot, clean 1/2-pint glass canning jars, leaving 1/4-inch space at top of jars. Wipe jar rims with a clean damp cloth. Cover with hot lids; apply screw bands. Process jars in a pot of boiling water 10 minutes. Cool completely. Store in cool dark place up to 1 year. Yields about 8 1/2-pint jars.

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