Here’s my new favorite way to preserve pears, which are low in pectin and thus not great for jam. Long cooking reduces the fruit to a buttery consistency, and the spices impart nice seasonal flavor to what’s otherwise a subtle (bland) fruit. Above, pear butter on pear-ginger muffins.
Recipe: Pear Butter
3 lbs ripe pears / 2 cups light brown sugar, approx. / 2 cinnamon sticks / 2 slices ginger, ½-inch each / ¼ tsp ground cloves / ¼ tsp ground allspice
Peel, core and chop pears. Cook in a large saucepan 20 minutes so, until soft. Add 3 tbls water if needed to keep pears from scorching. When pears are soft, measure their volume and add half the volume in sugar. Add spices and cook over low heat until very thick, 1-2 hours, stirring occasionally.
When pear butter is thick, remove cinnamon and ginger. If canning, ladle the butter into small self-sealing jars and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Adapted from Linda Ziedrich. Makes about 2 pints.