Monday, August 9, 2010

The 365 Project: Day 217 (August 6th)

I noticed in a grocery sales ad (which I now peruse religiously, of course) that California grown pears were on super sale for $.47/lb. So I decided that canning some itty bitty jars of Pear Butter as favors for my baby shower was in order.
Of course, prepping to can pears is an even bigger pain in the butt than pitting plums. Pears need to be cored, seeded, and peeled. Ugh, what a horrible word. I would never ever be willing to peel all those pieces of fruit by hand. The alternative? Go shopping for a new tool!

I made the trek to Bed Bath & Beyond for a food mill. A food mill is a tool that separates the stems, seeds and peels of fruits and veggies from the pulp. All I had to do was chop and cook the pears until soft, then run them through the food mill with the medium disc.

I chose the OXO Food Mill. The $50 price point for a piece of manual kitchen equipment was quite off-putting, but I've seen good reviews, and I had a 20% off coupon and 2 wedding gift cards, so it wasn't really so bad.

I'm so glad I sprung for the good one! Those little feet and the cushioned handles make a big difference when you're grinding cup after cup of pears! This tool is incredibly cool and easy to use. It should also be fabulous for soups, baby food, and apple butter in the fall!
You end up with very little (compostable) waste...
...and a ton of saucy goodness! I couldn't bear to cook it all with pounds of sugar, so I skimmed some off the top to reserve for a yummy pear sauce snack.
I used the Pear Butter recipe from the Ball Blue Book, which can pretty much be found in this All Recipes version here. The nutmeg in my closet smelled funky (it's probably a good decade old), so I substituted all spice and a shake or two of cinnamon. I started out with 17 pears and ended up with 11.5 cups of sauce. I proceeded with canning 10 of these cups and ended up with about 6 pints of Pear Butter (split up into a bunch of cute 4oz jars). Hope it tastes good!

Oh, and for the friends who haven't asked yet--I don't know why they call it pear butter. There's no butter in it and nothing buttery about it. It's basically like any other jam and has the consistency of a thick applesauce. Eat it on a toasted english muffin...with or without butter.

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