I made some apricot butter last week and it was WAY good. I found some apricots on sale, and it really was pretty simple. Butters are much easier to can than jelly or jam. You don't have to use pectin and worry as much about them "jellin" just right. Lots of things can go wrong with jellies, but it is pretty hard to mess up butters. So, today I made Pear Butter.
Step 1: Wash, peel, core, and cut up pears (I bought these 6lbs for about $5)
Step 2: Cook pears in 1/2 cup of water until soft.Step 3: Put in food processor. Be careful not to liquefy.
Step 4: Mix in 4 cups sugar, 1/2 tsp. nutmeg, and 1/3 cup orange juice. After a bit go ahead and get water boiling in boiling-water canner or really large stock pot. I use my pressure cooker. You have to cook the pear mixture until it rounds up on the spoon. Mine didn't. I put in too much orange juice, and maybe I just don't have the patience to wait for it to mound. I cooked it a long time, and it looked okay to me. It would be great to do this step over time in the crockpot.
Step 5: When the pear mixture is getting thick and almost ready, start processing the jars and lids in the boiling water. This is in part so that they will be ready for the hot pear mixture and boiling water, and the jars won't break. This step is SO much easier with the canning tools like the lid lifter, and the tongs made for canning! Leave them in there a bit to keep the jars hot and then take them out and dry them off.
Step 6: Fill jars, leaving 1/4 inch at the top, put lids on and screw on rings. Return jars to the boiling water canner. Make sure they have at least 2 inches of water over the top. Leave them in the canner for 10 minutes. Then, take them out and let them sit on a towel for 24 hours.
We liked the pear butter, but it was kind of bland. One of my kids said it was kind of like applesauce almost. My kids like bland, but we all agreed the apricot was much better. They both came out just jelled enough in my opinion. I like my jelly to kind of run into the English Muffin crevices, you know. I used these really cute Ball Elite Collection 8 oz. new jars, they were so pretty! This recipe made 4 -8oz jars +12 -4 oz. jars.
I also made pickles from some of our garden cucumbers. They were pretty easy. Of course we aren't supposed to open them for 4-6 weeks, but I opened some 24 hours later and I thought they were pretty good, kind of crunchy like a Klausen pickle. It sure did stink up the kitchen. I just loved canned stuff tied up with a ribbon and some fabric over the lid - not just food, but ART too!