Pear Butter in the Slow Cooker

pear butter

I make applesauce every year; it’s easy and tastes wonderful. It serves as the basis for apple butter, which I make in a slow cooker, which make it easy, and scorch-proof. This year I tried the same trick with pears. Wow, pear butter is great!

I made a version that has a very subtle seasoning. You can adjust the seasonings to your whim: try adding ginger for some zing, or substitute lime juice and add lime zest. You need citrus in there, to ensure enough acidity, and you’ll need sugar, for balance and for preserving power. See Marisa McClellan’s excellent explanation of the role of acid and ph within waterbath canning!

This is not a quick recipe, but it is truly fuss free. It can be made start to finish in a slow cooker, and will easily adapt to your schedule.

Pear Butter in the Slow Cooker yields about 6 8-oz jars

  • 1/2 peck pears (about 6 lbs)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 to 3 cups sugar
  • 6-8 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp ground 5-spice powder

Core the pears and chop them – there’s no need to peel them. Pile them into a large slow cooker (mine is a 6 quart oval. It’s better to go wide than tall with this one.) Add 1/2 cup water, cover, and cook on high for 1 hour. Uncover, stir the pears, then cover again and cook on low until the pears are all quite soft.

Use a potato masher or an immersion blender to produce a smooth applesauce-like texture. Add lemon juice and 2 cups sugar. Taste the mixture, and adjust both sugar and lemon juice to get the balance of flavors you like best. Add the spices, stir to combine.

Set the crockpot to HIGH, cover, and cook at least an hour to get the pears really hot. Now reduce the heat to LOW, prop open the lid, (I laid chopsticks across the pot, then put the lid on top, leaving space for evaporation.) and cook for 10-12 hours, until reduced to half its original volume.

You can stretch this time out if your schedule demands it. To maintain the pears without evaporating, place the lid securely in place. To let it reduce again, prop the lid open. I let my batch cook, propped open, on the counter overnight while I slept. No fuss, no muss, no scorching. The finished pear butter should be thick and not at all runny. For the smoothest pear butter possible, use your immersion blender again.

Prepare jars as usual, and heat water for a boiling-water bath. When the jars are ready, fill them, and process in a boiling water bath 20 minutes.

 

pear butter

Pear Butter (Slow Cooker)

Course: Jams and Jellies
Cuisine: American
Keyword: slow cooker, pear
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 hours
Processing time for canning: 20 minutes
Servings: 6 8-oz jars
Pear butter hands off: in the slow cooker
Print Recipe

Ingredients

  • ½ peck pears (about 6 lbs)
  • ½ cup water
  • 2-3 cups granulated sugar
  • 6-8 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • ¼ tsp ground 5-spice powder

Instructions

  • Core the pears and chop them – there’s no need to peel them. Pile them into a large slow cooker (mine is a 6 quart oval. It’s better to go wide than tall with this one.) Add 1/2 cup water, cover, and cook on high for 1 hour. Uncover, stir the pears, then cover again and cook on low until the pears are all quite soft.
  • Use a potato masher or an immersion blender to produce a smooth applesauce-like texture. Add lemon juice and 2 cups sugar. Taste the mixture, and adjust both sugar and lemon juice to get the balance of flavors you like best. Add the spices, stir to combine.
  • Set the cooker to HIGH, cover, and cook at least an hour to get the pears really hot. Now reduce the heat to LOW, prop open the lid, (I laid chopsticks across the pot, then put the lid on top, leaving space for evaporation.) and cook for 10-12 hours, until reduced to half its original volume.
  • You can stretch this time out if your schedule demands it. To maintain the pears without evaporating, place the lid securely in place. To let it reduce again, prop the lid open. I let my batch cook, propped open, on the counter overnight while I slept. No fuss, no muss, no scorching. The finished pear butter should be thick and not at all runny. For the smoothest pear butter possible, use your immersion blender again.
  • Prepare jars as usual, and heat water for a boiling-water bath. When the jars are ready, fill them, and process in a boiling water bath 20 minutes.

4 Comments

  1. I just found this recipe, as I have 20 lbs. of bartlett pears and wanted to try something more than just sliced pears. I made the butter last night and it is HEAVENLY! By accident (I’m also processing 20 lbs of apples for sauce/pie filling- a bit distracted here), I left out the five-spice powder and cardamom! Despite that goof, it produced the most beautiful flavor – it’s bright and tangy, then melts into a buttery, caramel-y finish.

    Thanks so much for a fabulous recipe. I’m starting my second batch right now – only this time, I’ll have my spices at the ready. 🙂

    • I’m so glad you like it! I think pear butter is amazingly good all sorts of ways, including with a bit of cocoa powder added in. And it makes a wonderful spice cake, too.

  2. Judi Schieven

    Maurita – this came at an opportune moment. Berend walked in yesterday with about 10 lbs. Bosc pears that a neighbour gave him! These pears eat like apples, with a crunchy bite. Do they need to ripen in order to make this?

    • I used red Bartlett pears, which were just at the ripe stage – starting to be a bit soft. I haven’t ever tried using crispy pears (are they an Asian pear variety?) but I’d think the process would be the same. The riper they are, the more flavorful. Don’t forget to add lemon juice!

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Welcome

I’m Maurita Plouff, and I write about cooking and preserving the local harvest in Southeast Michigan. Any recipe you find here is something I have cooked myself, and enjoyed, and think you might like too. I invite you to try the recipes, and leave comments.

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