saged pear butter

April 18, 2010

i’ve had a lot on my plate these past few weeks-

i had 2 of these in 2 nights in nyc:

photo hifi cartel

then i had 8 of these in 4 days in miami:

photo igor odovic

then i had 2 of these in 2 nights in nyc:

photo hifi cartel

in between i rounded up a big raucous bunch of allium recipes

and after all that, and in a bit of a haze there was the last minute planning of a much needed vacation to california.

what all this means is:

1) i’m still alive.

2) while you’re reading this i’ve probably just left here and i’m on my way to here. :)

3) i had to get jammin’ with my can jam at the very beginning of april in nyc without even a thought of getting up to the berkshires to experience the glorious springtime weather & check out the bounty.

4) my biggest challenge this month was getting all that stuff off my plate and some other stuff into jars.

…and even tho my ingredients were chosen & gathered at exactly 10:50pm on a drive by of the columbus circle wholefoods after a late production viewing & before an AM call time for the first of two consecutive all nighters. and even tho they’ve traveled as far to me as i have for my vacation and aren’t particularly very springy (pears & sage?) at all, trust me, i had a plan:

some of you may remember my first attempt at butter, though good it was a tad too sweet. i want a fruit butter that tastes like the fruit it is with just enough sweetness to be this side of (apple)sauce, and since i have plenty of experience enhancing jams with herbs i wanted to see how they work with butters.

so that was the plan, and a more immediate one during my 10 minute wholefood frenzy was finding the most potent smelling herbs i could find, and this was it:

i had a few flavor pairings in mind, and once the sage was settled on, the pear was the pairing for sure. luckily, but not locally unfortunately, the pear section at wholefoods was overflowing with fruit.

and so…

saged pear butter

2 to 2 & 1/2 pounds pears (i used anjou)
juice of one lemon
1/8th cup champagne vinegar (or white wine)
2/3rds to 1 cup sugar (i used raw)
1/4 teaspoon finely ground white pepper
1 large sprig fresh sage (approximately 15-18 leaves)
1/2 pint mason jars

yields: approximately 1 & 1/2 pints

1. peel pears, slice in half, core, and drop in a bowl of ice cold water with the lemon juice. this will keep them from discoloring.

2. chop pears coarsely and place in preserving pot, add vinegar and 1/8th cup of water. bring to the boil, then simmer until pears are just soft.

3. sauce the pears. you have choices; you can run them through a food mill, blend in a blender, or do as i did and use an immersion blender right in the pot.

4. add pear sauce back to the pot if you’ve taken the pears out to sauce. put the heat on low & add sugar. stir until sugar melts.

5. add the ground white pepper and whole sage sprig. turn heat up and bring to the boil.

6. boil, stirring frequently when it begins to thicken. it will take about 35-45 minutes to reach a spreadable thickness. you will know it’s done when you can glide your stirring spoon across the bottom of the pot and see the bottom for a second or two before the butter melts back over itself.

just when you begin to cook the sauce down you can prepare you canning pot and sterilize your jars.

7. once desired thickness is reached remove the sage sprig. you will have a lot of butter sticking to the sprig, make sure to shake it off over the pan so as not to lose any of that buttery goodness.

8. fill jars and process in a hot water bath for 5 minutes. store in a cool, dry place for up to one year.

note: this is a very small batch, so please double or even triple it if you like.

tigress’ can jam april: herbs – success!
i used 2/3rd cup of sugar and the sweetness was just what i was after. it truly tastes of pears and sage. i believe you could go up to a cup if you like your butters a bit sweeter and still retain the clear herbal fruit taste. the hit of sage is strong and i think it would make the perfect topping on some just-warm-from-the-oven cheddar buttermilk biscuits!

learning: this month i learned that i can jam (or more appropriately, butter) very quickly if i have to. i’m excited about the addition of herbs to butters and the success of the lower sugar. buttering is a perfect skill to have when the glut is on and we’re in need of getting mounds of fruit into our preserving jars. it’s a skill i imagine using often when the new england fruit is literally falling off the trees!

Comments Closed

  • kaela says:

    You know I'm all about lower sugar – AND all about those adorable 1/2 pint jars! Envy, thy name is Kaela.

    Butters always take me forever & a day to make; so impressed that you squeezed this into a jam packed month! I'm sure you will reap delicious rewards this summer with multiple pear-sage-butter tea breaks in the Berks.

    Hope you are having a fabo and relaxy time in Cali!

  • Mom says:

    My can jam entry was May Wine Jelly…

    I broke down and made my own labels after seeing those Lelo ones….

  • Julia says:

    Holy shizz. That is some crazy times, indeed. I also hope it's relaxy in Cali! I was totally surprised at a butter, and I think it sounds rich. I'm suddenly thinking I want a almond butter and pear sage butter sandwich.

  • Rebecca says:

    I LOVE doing butters for the reasons you list: fruity, less sweet, easy to combine with different flavors. But here's a hint: Put it in the oven to cook down! Pit stone fruits, but apples and pears can be quartered and tossed in the roaster as is. Add any herbs and spices and a little water to start. Less stirring, less watching, practically no chance of scorching! When the fruit is soft run it through a food mill to remove the seeds and skins. Taste, sweeten if necessary, return to roaster for a few minutes to incorporate any added sugar, and reduce to a spreadable consistency. And the added bonus? Roasting concentrates the natural sugars in the fruit so you add even less sugar to sweeten!

    I make my fruit sauces this way too. Just remove from the oven when they reach the thickness you prefer.

  • leena! says:

    Love your choice for this month's Can Jam! I bet it would taste killer on a grill cheese with fontina…

    Can't wait to find out next month's ingredient. Seriously, it's like the highlight of my month. Total canning nerd!

  • Shae says:

    Whoa! You are on the move! This looks so good — and those little jars are irresistible. The pears at Whole Foods, yep. They get me every time.

  • ap269 says:

    Wow, looks like you are really busy! Also, this jar is absolutely adorable!

  • Diane says:


  • Andrea says:

    Ooooooh, that jar is just so cute! The recipe sounds good, too, but I have to admit that I really, really, love that jar.

  • tigress says:

    i will definitely give roasting a try. sounds like a great technique!

  • RJ Flamingo says:

    Did someone say grilled cheese?!? Brie or camembert would be my choice – yum! And mine is…. up!

  • tigress says:

    leena/rj flamingo – yes, i know, grilled cheese & saged pear butter. brilliant – thanks leena!

  • Melanie says:

    Oooh, sage pear butter sounds awesome! Thanks for the reminder to have fun & can even though I missed the deadline! :) I did get it done!

  • Kathleen says:

    This sage pear butter sounds frickin fabulous!!!

  • Teresa says:

    i have a pot on the stove bubbling gently right now, and HOLY Friggin-Moly this is DELISH!
    yes, now i am drooling thinking about this pear/sage as a side to grilled cheese, or baked brie…

  • suzanne says:

    This looks amazing. Question on the pears. Were they ripe or did you use them when they were still green(ish)?

    • tigress says:

      hi! they were definitely ripe, but still a bit firm. glad you are thinking of trying this one out. it is a great fall/winter butter!

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