Pears, Pears, and more Pears! {Pressure Cooker Pear Butter}

in Natural Medicine4 months ago (edited)

This past weekend in addition to joining in on the 10k, we also were able to spend time with the boyfriend's parents. The timing was perfect to partake in the harvesting of pears from the huge tree in their backyard. Though his mom has given us frozen pears before and lots of the homemade pearsauce she makes (like applesauce, but with pears), last year was the first year that I got to help actually pick some of the fruit right from the tree.

The past few years the branches are just dripping with pears! I'm not sure what variety of tree it is, but the fruit is quite dense and heavy. Lots of the branches this year were drooping so badly they snapped off. Still more than enough pears left for both us and the wildlife to enjoy. We did try taking a few clippings to see if we can propagate a tree or two in our own backyard.

The morning was quite humid, but at least I was already drenched with sweat after the race when we decided to do our picking anyway. The only down side was the voracious mosquitoes. I even put on pants while we were out there, but those suckers (literally) still managed to nibble on every bit of exposed skin including our faces.

Between the ones within arms reach and the ones easily snagged with the basket on the pole, we quickly picked our fill before the pests could ravage us too badly. It is actually quite peaceful out in the morning light foraging in the yard. I'm not sure if any of the apple orchards will be doing U-pick this year, so this might be about it for our 2020 fruit picking.

With a full bucket, we made it back home for me to figure out how to use all of our bounty. Since the pears are so hard, they aren't as pleasant to eat raw as some varieties are, though we will eat a few as nature intended. With the rest I'm already putting some to use in overnight oats and some baking. After making pumpkin butter for the first time last year, I decided some pear butter would be a great addition to our autumn menu. A "butter" is basically a thicker version of a fruit sauce or compote, usually blended up quite smoothly to make a creamy spread. The great thing about making them at home is you can control how much sugar you put in as the store-bought varieties usually have way more than is needed. Especially when the fruit you are working with already has plenty of natural sweetness.

The pressure cooker makes the process even easier so you don't have to keep watch of a pot on the stove or take the time to let the slow cooker work its magic. I didn't love my Instant Pot when I first bought it, but it really has grown on me for certain applications. With the density of the pears, the pressure definitely helps break them down for a perfectly smooth spread! You can easily make this without the pressure cooker, though, you would just need to adjust your cooking times according to the alternative method you choose.

Pressure Cooker Pear Butter

Makes about 2 pints

  • 8 cups fresh pears, peeled & cut into chunks
  • 1 cup pitted dates
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (or blend of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, etc.)
  • 2 star anise pods

Place everything in the pressure cooker with the star anise pods placed on top so you can fish them out after cooking. Seal the lid and set on Manual for 20 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally before removing the lid to cool for an additional 20-30 minutes.

Once slightly cooled, remove the star anise pods and blend until smooth. Use a stick blender or carefully transfer to a blender in batches. Taste and adjust any spices to your liking. Our pears were plenty sweet enough that this tastes much more decadent than it really is with no need for added sugar!

It is always amazing to see how much the fruit shrinks down when cooking out the liquid. These two pint jars won't last long, so I think I'll be making another batch with the plenty of pears that we have remaining. I'm sure I know a few people I could share a taste with to help us consume all this goodness without letting any go to waste...

As usual making things from scratch and experiencing a small bit of the homesteading world does make my heart happy. Yes, it can be a lot of work, and it can be daunting to look at that huge pile of fruit left to be processed. But it always connects my soul to the Earth and makes me very grateful for what I have access to in this part of the world. I try never to take the experience and the delicious, life-giving sustenance for granted! Especially to find such joy in the changing seasons and eating as intended based on what is fresh and ready to harvest. A pear off the tree, even a hard, gnarly-shaped one, beats a store-bought one any day in my book. Happy (almost) Autumn my northern hemisphere friends!

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On Monday, my love took the kids for a walk and brought me back a bushel of pears from the neighbor's tree for me to process this week. I have been debating what I wanted to make with them, and after seeing your post this morning I know I am going to take your lead and use my pressure cooker to cut my work considerably for the pear butter!
It's also apple season here in the Smoky Mountains, so next week I will do the same with a heap of apples!
I try to do several different things when I have a big batch of something for processing, but I just love making the fruit "butters" the best because it goes so well with the fresh baked breads on those chilly winter days!

@plantstoplanks thanks for sharing your pear adventures.


@freemotherearth! Been thinking aobut you a lot lately! Glad you are still around, even though you haven't had much time to post. Fruit butter on fresh baked bread on winter days? Give me a chai with that and I'd be in absolute heaven!

Oh yay! So fun when that works out. Though I suppose that makes sense when we're not too far apart in geographical regions. :) How nice of them to do the picking to bring you such a treat! I hope we can get some apples, as well. We might have to make a trip up to the Blue Ridge Mountains soon where a lot of the Georgia orchard. I'm going with some girlfriends in November, but that might be a bit too late to really get the good ones.

I totally agree about the fruit butter. Nothing beats a smear on some fresh, warm bread! Yum, lunchtime here so better go fill my growling belly. Enjoy your own fruit-filled fall!

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I've lost touch with you @plantstoplanks, I just happened to see a post you had reblogged in my feed, and came here to find everything is too old for me to vote on.

I hope you've been well my dear, I would STILL like to meet in person one of these days.
Be well my friend.

Hey Jerry! Thanks for checking in. Just ridiculously busy these days, so not spending much time online. I pop in here and there where I can, or when I have something to post that also doubles for work-related material, haha. Hope all is well with you during these continuing crazy times.

Crazy times indeed @plantstoplanks. I won't go into details, but it has been especially crazy for me.
Good to know you are still out and about. Take care and stay well.

Beautiful post and a beautiful tree/harvest...
I would love to taste that pear butter, looks yummy ;)

Thank you @luca1777! It was certainly a lovely morning to share about, and of course I wish I could also share a taste with you all. One of these days technology will get that far. ;)

Oh, i just want original Mother Earth...but maybe we find a healthy/organic way to do de-materialization :p

Looks like delicious and beautiful post!

Thanks @sreypov! I'll be back in the kitchen this morning to work on some more yummy stuff with my haul. It's a rainy day, so no better place to be than cooking. :)

Yum... That pear butter recipe looks like something I'd enjoy. Thanks for sharing. All the pear trees near where I live are the variety that only grow tiny little things (smaller than a cherry...?!?!?!?)

People seem to plant them for ornamental purposes only, because they have beautiful, large, flower blooms in Springtime. Fortunately all the food markets nearby sell what I'll need.😎

Happy to share! That's kind of a bummer to have such tiny little fruit, but I'm sure it is quite lovely when they are in bloom! At least pears are an easy fruit to find in the store. :)

Yummmmmmmyyyy... have you ever tried making an apple 'cheese', or in this case, a pear cheese? Like so thick you can slice it?

That looks like it'll last you all winter - on porridge, with custard, in all kinds of deserts!

I hope our pear trees give more than 3 pears this year - or rather, t he cockatoos don't get to them first!

What is this "cheese" you speak of?? I've not done anything like that, but might have to do some research! I'm about to head into the kitchen to make some banana bread with pears in it, so of course I'll be slathering on some of this when it comes out of the oven. ;)

I hope you get a better harvest this year, as well! Sounds like my sister's problem. She was so excited to find out her new house had a pear tree along with the fig tree, but when it came time for the pears to start popping up and maturing, the squirrels and birds at almost all of them.

That looks absolutely delicious. Have you considered making a sorbet? Or lollies? I'm sure that would be very refreshing - and different.

Ooh, always love when you pop by with some good ideas. So many things to try. I might even go back to one of your other suggestions in the past and try a chutney to go a bit more savory with them. The hardest part is finding enough time to try everything I'd like!

Always glad to be of service! Speaking of savoury, I was thinking of a lovely combination: char-grilled pears, blue cheese walnuts (or pecans) and rocket (arugula) to make a salad with a balsamic dressing. Can you find a vegan blue cheese? A friend of mine started making it... It doesn't matter what one uses, but the cheese substitute needs to be quite sharp to counter the strong flavours of the rocket and as a contrast with the pears....

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I've secured a couple horses and a buggy just in case you want to transport a case of your pear butter to Indiana. No breakfast is complete in Amish country without pear or apple butter on the table.

Awesome using dates instead of copious amounts of white sugar.

Thank you @plantstoplanks so much sharing this recipe.

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Update for regular authors

Pear butter, now I am having Amish country flashbacks of my childhood. I guess apple butter is a little more common where I live, but I have partaken in the pear butter too, and know of its deliciousness.

Thanks for sharing this @plantstoplanks.

Oh my gosh, after growing up in Pennsylvania my mom has such an affinity for the Amish stores and delicious goodies. I think apple butter is more common here, as well, but pretty much any of the fruit butters are a win in my book! At least they are more likely to be vegan than the jams and jellies, but still that much better homemade. Plus I love dates, so anywhere they fit in to enhance the sweetness of things naturally I'm a happy cook. :)