Meet Alex Caspero
Alex Caspero is a Registered Dietitian, New York Times Bestselling Chef, and mom of two. She aims to cut through the nutrition noise by providing real-life, nourishing tips for body and mind. Learn more about Alex.
Homemade pear butter! This simple pear butter recipe is a must with any extra pears. Enjoy it on toast, muffins, scones, and more. Perfect for gifting for the holidays!
Warmly spiced and lightly sweetened, this pear butter is a must this time of year. I love this one stirred into a bowl of steel-cut oats, and my daughter loves it mixed with cream cheese on top of her morning waffles.
If you like other types of fruit butter, then you’ll love this fresh pear one. While pear butter doesn’t contain any actual butter– it sure does taste like it! This one is creamy, thick, and perfect for spreading on any kind of bread, scone, or pancake.
The best part about this recipe is that it’s ready in an hour. While I love homemade canning and have several recipes for homemade jams and salsas, I wanted to create a simple pear butter recipe you could make in the morning for breakfast that same day. No sterilizing jars or special equipment is needed! However, if you want to can this one– directions are at the bottom.
All you need are ripe pears and a few spices, that’s it! For this recipe, I’m using fresh USA Pears. USA Pears are grown in Oregon and Washington, which produce 88% of the nation’s fresh pear crop. Only pears grown in Oregon and Washington are sold under the USA Pears label. I’m partial to Bosc or Bartlett for this recipe, but any pear variety will work.
Most fruit butter recipes, like apple butter, call for a hefty dose of Cinnamon, but since pears are a more delicate flavor, I like to add in additional spices like cardamom, nutmeg, and ginger.
I love the pairing of almond and pear together, and a touch of almond extract is so lovely here. It’s okay to omit if you’d prefer, or substitute in vanilla extract.
Peel, core and dice the pears
Add to a saucepan with the syrup, lemon juice, and spices and simmer until very soft. The pears will release water as they cook but if the mixture begins to stick at all, add in a little liquid of choice– pear juice, water or another fruit juice.
For a creamier pear butter, use an immersion blender or food processor to puree the butter until creamy and smooth. Or, skip this step and gently mash the pear butter with a potato masher for a chunkier butter.
Let cool, then enjoy or transfer to an airtight container and store for up to 1 week in the fridge.
If your pears are very juicy, you’ll need to cook them longer so they reduce to the proper consistency for butter. If your pears are less ripe, they will contain more natural pectin that will gel and thicken the pear butter more quickly. Both are fine, but something to consider to determine how long to simmer your butter. The ripeness will also affect yield.
The shorter the cooking time, the paler and thinner your pear butter will be. For best results, cook the pears in a wide pan, like a saucepan or Dutch oven.
This also means it’s easy to burn the butter because of the long, slow cooking time. Make sure your heat is low enough to simmer rather than boil; even a small amount of burning will cause the entire butter batch to taste burned. As it reaches its point of doneness, stir it fairly often to prevent scorching.
I prefer maple syrup for taste, but you can substitute brown sugar or cane sugar if preferred. If using a solid sweetener, you may need to add a splash or two of water to the pears as they cook to prevent the bottom from burning. You can also omit or reduce the sugar to taste.
For the acid, either orange or lemon juice works. Use whatever you have on hand, and yes, orange juice from the fridge works! I add in a little fresh orange peel or lemon peel zest to give this pear butter a brighter citrus flavor, but if you are using refrigerated orange juice, then just skip that part.
You can make this in the slow cooker, but you’ll need to add water to prevent the spices from burning at the bottom. I recommend 1/4 cup of water and stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.
Did you know that pears are one of the few fruits that don’t ripen on the tree? Pears are picked when they are mature but not yet ripe. If left at room temperature, they will slowly reach their sweet flavor as they ripen from the inside out.
As a mom with two kids who go through a lot of fruit, this is one of my favorite things about pears. It means I can buy a bunch at the beginning of the week and then ripen the ones we’ll eat sooner on the counter and put the rest in the fridge until I’m ready for them. This cuts down on both food costs and waste.
It’s also what makes pears great for gifting! You don’t have to worry about them spoiling before giving, and they are lovely tucked into a nice basket alongside a jar of this pear butter.
To quickly ripen a pear, place the underripe pears at room temperature near other ripening fruit like bananas, as they naturally give off ethylene gas, which will help speed up the ripening process.
For Bartlett pears, their skin color brightens as it ripens, but most other varieties of pears will not have a big color change as they ripen.
Instead, check the neck. Apply a little pressure to the neck of the pear with your thumb. If it easily yields to the pressure, it’s ripe! How easy is that?
Once the pear is ripe, enjoy it right away for a snack, chopped in a salad or in this pear butter. Or, pop it in the fridge to slow the ripening process. Ripe pears can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Like most fruits, cut or peeled pears will eventually brown once the flesh is exposed to air. This is a natural oxidation process that doesn’t change the taste or quality but can be off-putting, depending on the recipe you are using.
Dip pears into a bowl of 50% water with 50% lemon juice to prevent browning. Or, you can soak cut pears in lightly salted water for 10 minutes, then drain, rinse, and pat dry. I do this before I place sliced pears into my kid’s lunchboxes!
Available fresh nearly year-round, pears are packed with fiber — about 6 grams per pear — and are a delicious way to meet fiber needs. Considering that only 5% of adults in the US meet the Institute of Medicine’s recommended daily fiber intake of 25 grams for women and 38 grams for men, eating more pears is a simple way to meet needs.
Snacking on a pear provides 21% of the fiber needed in a day. Enjoy this pear butter on whole-grain muffins for breakfast, sliced pears with peanut butter for a simple snack, or add them to pizza, sandwiches, or salads for a savory twist.
This recipe can be canned as is, and also safe to be doubled to produce more jars.
To can, ladle the warm pear butter into clean half-pint jars top leaving a 1/2 inch headspace. Wipe clean the rims of the jars, then fasten with a lid and seal. Place in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes, then remove using canning tongs and allow to cool at room temperature.
Check the list by pressing on the center of each seal. If it springs back, the jars should be refrigerated. Otherwise, store it in a dark, cool place, like a pantry, for up to a year.
If you make this easy pear butter recipe, make sure to come back to leave a rating and a comment. Your feedback helps other readers and seeing you make my recipes makes my day!Print
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Homemade pear butter! This simple fresh pear butter recipe is a must. Enjoy it on toast, muffins, scones, and more. Perfect for gifting for the holidays!
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