I brought some jars back from Wisconsin, where I can, to Chicago, where I eat, and when I opened the cupboard to put them inside, I had this moment where I felt like the jars were breeding. There just seems to be so many of them, here and in Wisconsin.
I know how many there are, of course. I put up 257 jars this year, and we gave 54 away so far. We’ve eaten some, but probably not more than a dozen or so yet. Well, maybe more than a dozen. G. eats a lot of salsa.
When I added it all up, it kind of blew me away. The canner fits seven jars at a time, so that means I made at least 37 batches. Really though, I made more because not every recipe produced seven jars.
That’s hours and hours, days and days of canning. I think it must be like childbirth. After you do it, you kind of forget how much labor it was, or you’d never do it again.
Of the more than two dozen jams, sauces, pickles and chutneys I put up, I think my favorite is pear butter. It makes my morning oatmeal taste amazing and gives me a good start to the day. It makes me happy.
6 pounds pears, peeled, cored and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
1 cup sugar
juice of 1 large lemon
Combine pears and sugar in a pot and cook over medium-high heat until the pears become soft and start to break down. Stir as needed to prevent burning.
When pears are soft, remove pot from heat and puree with an immersion blender.
Return pot to stove and continue cooking on low heat until butter thickens. Again, stir as needed to prevent burning.
You will know the butter is done when you put a dollop on a plate and it doesn’t seep. Stir in the lemon juice.
Can in half-pint jars with 1/4-inch head space, processing for 10 minutes.
Note: You can also add cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom and other spices. “Tart and Sweet” has a wonderful recipe for Spiced Pear Cardamom Butter with five spices. Also, the book has much more detailed cooking instructions. I recommend it.