Recipes @ Homemade Fruit Butter

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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Homemade Fruit Butter

There’s a particular warmth and coziness from a gift that comes from your own home kitchen. At holiday time, homemade presents are a wonderful idea, like homemade fruit butters.

Pear butter is quite simple to make. Take pears that are very ripe—not rotten—but if they have a bruise or two, this is the perfect use for fruit that is slightly over the hill. Quarter the pears, core them, and peel them. A lot of people make fruit butters with the skin on, but this tends to add a little grittiness to the final fruit butter, and you don’t want that grittiness.

Use about 12 ripe pears, 1 cup of granulated sugar, ¼ cup of water and 1 vanilla bean. Combine ingredients in a heavy-bottom pot because this is going to cook for about two to three hours and you don’t want any scorching.

Add the juice of 1 lemon to the pears to prevent the fruit from darkening. You can also, if you like, use a little bit of the rind, just the yellow, in with the fruit for a little added flavor. Stir it up and put it on a low flame. Cook for two to three hours until the fruit is extremely soft and can be put through a food mill.

After cooking for two to three hours, the pears will have taken on an extremely golden color. Putting the pear mixture through a food mill gives you the really perfect texture for the fruit butter.

To fill a jar, use a wide-mouth funnel. You want to come to about one half-inch of the top of the jar. Just give the jar a tap to get out the air bubbles. Hold the center of the lid of a screw-top jar, screw on the ring and tighten it. There you have a jar of pear butter.

To cover the pear butter for a gift, you can use a round of parchment paper with a little bit of a pinked edge; it makes a decorative top for a jar. Dampen the piece of paper in warm water. It becomes much more pliable. Place it on top of the jar with a rubber band. As the parchment dries, it will stretch nice and tightly and give a very professional look to the finished jar.

A jar of pear butter will last for two to four weeks in the refrigerator. Once the parchment is dry and taut, tie a ribbon with a handmade gift tag. Write very clearly on the tag “refrigerate immediately,” and it’s ready to give as a gift. Adding fruit butters to your Christmas repertoire will make it a truly handmade Christmas this year.

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