Fruit Butters (Peaches, Pears and Apples)

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As a kid, I was fascinated by the lives of long-dead historical figures. I devoured those blue-bound “When They Were Young” biographies, absorbing the childhood details of Helen Keller, Susan B. Anthony and Clara Barton. I was a particular fan of Betsy Ross, in part because I’d taken the walking tour through her cramped colonial home in Philadelphia’s historic district (later, when we were back in California, I delightedly wore the Quaker sunbonnet my grandmother bought me at the museum gift shop).

One aspect that I found particularly entrancing in these “biographies” (looking back, I realize that these volumes were probably far more fiction than fact) was the way in which food preparation was detailed (this is also why I read and re-read all the Little House books).

There’s one scene in the Betsy Ross book that has always stuck with me, in which she (as a seven or eight year old) is given the task of tending the apple butter, as it slowly cooks over an open fire. She uses a wooden paddle to scrape the scum off the top of the butter and a long wooden stirrer, with which to ensure that the butter doesn’t burn on the bottom of the pot. I found this description, of a little girl being tasked with such responsibility, so very appealing. As a child of similar age, I longed to participate in the activities of food preparation, and to have a hand in making things from scratch.

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However, in those days, our applesauce came from a jar and the only thing we spread on bread was strawberry jam from a large, blue plastic bucket (the one with a white handle and lid). It wasn’t until my family moved to Oregon a few years later, and we found ourselves in a new/old house with gnarled old apple trees down at the very back of the property, did we even attempt to make apple butter (there is little in the world that tastes better than apple butter made from antique, windfall apples).

These days, homemade fruit butters are an integral part of my summer and fall preserving routine. After the jump, you’ll find my general fruit butter technique, it’s not a specific recipe, but instead a flexible approach that can expand or contract, depending on how much fruit you have. I also have a half pint jar of pear butter to give away. If you want it, leave a comment by Friday, September 18th at 11:59 p.m.

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I tend to make fruit butters in a two (or more) day process. Starting with the whole peaches, pears or apples, I simply cut them into chunks (the apples get peeled, but I leave the skins on the peaches and pears) and cook them down into sauce with a little bit of water. When they can be squished with the flat side of a wooden spoon, I puree them with an immersion blender. If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can use a regular blender (working carefully in batches) or a food mill to create a smooth sauce from the cooked fruit.

Now you begin to cook the sauce down into butter. This can take anywhere from three to five hours on the stove top at its lowest setting, depending on the amount of butter you’re making, the width of your pot (wider pot means more space for evaporation) and the level of heat that you cook over. This is best done on a lazy Sunday afternoon, so that you can give it a stir every 15 or 20 minutes. If you have a splatter shield, the kind typically used for frying, I’d use it here, as fruit butters can get a bit sputtery while cooking down.

Alternately, if you don’t have that kind of time, you can put your fruit sauce into a slow cooker and let is slowly cook down overnight or while you’re at work (I don’t recommend letting it go in the slow cooker for more than eight hours, so if you’ve got a long commute, you might not want to do it during your workday). You can also make the sauce one day, refrigerate it overnight and then cook it down into the butter the following day (or even a few days down the line).

While it cooks down, I like to add 3-4 teaspoons of cinnamon, about half a freshly grated nutmeg, some ground cloves and several cups of honey and/or sugar. The amount of sweetener is up to you, although you should add some, as it helps with the preservation of your finished product. I typically start with two cups and then taste, adding more if necessary. However, because you’ve concentrated the natural sweetness of the fruit, you shouldn’t need to much sugar or honey. I also will add the juice of 1-2 lemons, if I find that it needs a punch of acidity. Keep tasting, as it’s the best way to find a balance of spices and sweetness that works for you.

Once the butter is thick, seasoned and spreadable, get your jars out. I find that my typical batch makes 5-6 pints of butter, but your mileage will vary. Pour the hot fruit butter into clean jars, wipe rims, apply lids/rings and process in a boiling water canner for 15 minutes (starting the time when the water returns to a boil). When the time is up, remove the jars from the water and let them cool on a towel-lined countertop. When the jars are cool to the touch, check the seals by removing the rings and lifting the jars by the edges of the lid. A good seal means that the lid will hold fast.

Label your jars of fruit butter with the variety and the date. Store in a cool, dark place for up to six months.

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150 responses to “Fruit Butters (Peaches, Pears and Apples)”

  1. I love your website! I made some apricot butter from our backyard garden and it turned out nice & spicy. But how do some canners get that dark dark color with their apple butters?

    Kathy, the deep color comes from the long cooking times and the addition of cinnamon. -Marisa

  2. I have fond memories of eating apple butter as a kid growing up in Pennsylvania Dutch Country. I make my own applesauce but I’ve never gone the extra step to make apple butter. It sounds easy enough, though. I may give it a try this Fall!

  3. I love fruit butters… have made nectarine, apple and paradise (using the ratios of apple, cranberry and quince that go into paradise jelly). I usually make pears into a gingery jam, but think I’ll try some as butter this year, too.

  4. Reading Little House on the Prairie and all those other books also gave me a thirst for the homestead/homemade life. I loved reading about tending to the farm, raising animals, and cooking from scratch. Hopefully one day we can start our own little farm, maybe even with a bubbling brook down the way.

    Fruit butter sounds divine, and is next on my list once I can get a hold of some pears. Hoping to swipe some tonight.

  5. How many pounds of fruit do you use to make your batch of 5-6 pints?

    Elaine, to be perfectly honest, I’m not sure (which is why I didn’t include a number in the post). I’m guessing that I had between four and five pounds of pears. I typically fill my 5 1/2 quart dutch oven up 4/5 of the way to start and then the fruit cooks down from there. -Marisa

  6. I love apple butter! (True to my Penna Dutch roots, I like to eat it with cottage cheese as a snack…)

    Why do you suggest only storing it for 6 months (as opposed to 1 year, like for jams and jellies)? Thanks!

  7. I recently started canning and have really enjoyed your blog. I haven’t tried any fruit jams or butters yet – though I really want to!

    Also, in a prior post, you mentioned pickling okra. Do you plan on sharing the recipe?

    Melissa, when I pickled okra, I used the same brine that I used for the pickled asparagus. Pack the jars by inserting half the okra with the tips pointing up, and the rest with the tips pointing down (so that you have two layers of interlocking okra. Top with hot brine and process just like the asparagus. -Marisa

  8. I so love fruit butters, and I so love this blog. You’ve inspired me! And I’d love to try your pear butter, it sounds fantastic!

  9. Ooooh, to have pear butter… My boyfriend and I went picking a couple of days ago and I was very disappointed with the pear yield–which turned out to be none. The orchard we went to had gotten blight on the Boscs (and it isn’t quite time for them here yet anyway) and their Bartletts were too well picked over to get anything without ladders. I was awfully sad, as I had been looking forward to doing my own batch of apple-pear butter. Perhaps I’ll just have to get enough for a small batch from the grocery. *sigh*

  10. i havent made pear butter, but i’ve made peach and apple this year already! it turned out wonderfully, i did the slow cooker method, overnight.

  11. Ooh- would love to win that pear butter. I put up two batches of peach butter last weekend, and tonight need to start peeling the box of apples to start on the apple butter. I cannot wait to smell my house while it’s cooking! (I use a large roaster crock-pot)

  12. My mouth is watering at the thought of fruit butter and memories of my granny’s apple butter. In other words, “Pick me, pick me!” ^_^

  13. I know my mom would use her apples to make apple jelly, then the “leftovers” from the jelly juicing process, she would use to make apple butter.

    I had some awesome pumpkin butter recently – so I think my first attempt at “butters” will be some pumpkin butter.

  14. Just found your blog and LOVE IT! I’d love to try your butter – both eating the one you made, and using your recipe to make my own! Can’t wait!

  15. I wish you had posted this like 4 days ago before I too began the epic adventure of making peach butter. The recipe I had said it would take up to….UP TO….and hour to cook down. Yeah, it took two and a half and it probably could have gone longer. Well, we’ll see how this batch goes, I can still get some good peaches here in RI so maybe I’ll try again or just move onto the apple butter. I definitely need to try it with added spices. I had wanted to do a rum peach butter. Maybe next weekend.

  16. I am right there with you about childhood books with descriptions of food preparation! The Little House are so wonderful for that — especially Farmer Boy, which, as I recall is all about food. I am reading my 6 year old the All of a Kind Family books which are filled with descriptions of traditional Jewish delicacies.

    I must say, I want to do fruit butters, especially some of those ginger-pear butter recipes I’ve seen but the cooking time is scaring me a bit.

    Emily, if you’ve got a crock pot, it’s really the best way to go. You can wander away from it without worrying that it will scald, which is a wonderful thing. -Marisa

  17. I love fruit butters too! I made peach butter overnight in the slow cooker. When we woke up the next morning, the whole house smelled DIVINE. Then we ate it on some homemade biscuits and all died and went to heaven. I’m hoping to get some apples at the u-pick to do apple butter with. But, I’d love some pear butter too!

  18. Hey! I’m in Philly too! Last year I stopped at a strangers house and asked if she planned to use the beautiful pears on her tree. She said “no, but what do you plan to do with them?” I made pear butter for the first time, took her a jar to say “thanks” and used the rest as my Thanksgiving gifts. I did use the crock pot, and did stir quite often! I enjoy your site- thanks!

    Yay for fruit gleaning! Good for you for getting those pears! -Marisa

  19. Any ideas for pumpkin butter? My brother gave me some great pie pumpkins – I saw a jar of pumpkin butter at an Amish store and would like to try to make a small batch….

    Sally, I’ve never made pumpkin butter, so I don’t have a go-to recipe. It’s something I plan on doing once I get back from my honeymoon though, so stay tuned. -Marisa

  20. Would doing a slow cook in the oven be an option? I am thinking about the tomato jam post I saw on Hunter Angler Cook and he cooked tomatoes in the oven for hours.

    It is almost apple season here and Butters are definitely on the list.

    You could definitely do a slow cook in the oven. -Marisa

  21. Oh my goodness. I grew up with apple butter, but have yet to try the pear variety. Pears are my most favorite fruit and I would love to sample your recipe. Would it be laying it on too think to mention that my birthday is this Saturday, the 19th?

    Looking forward to future posts!

  22. I make jam and quince paste every year, but haven’t run into fruit butter. Sounds interesting and I suspect my boys would love it. I’ll bookmark this for next autumn (April/May down under).s

  23. I made pear butter last week but wanted a punch so cooked it down in ginger beer. It added flavor and sugar and turned out great. Thanks for the very interesting and inspirational blog, I really enjoy it.

    • I made a beautiful tasting butter. I got the recipe off the internet. It is called Vanilla Pear Butter. It also has some real butter in it. Highly recommended.
      My only question is: Can you water bath something with butter in it? Will it seal?

      3 1/2 lbs. ripe Bartlett pears, peeled, cored & quartered
      1/2 cup sugar
      1/4 cup lemon juice
      1/2 cup butter
      2 1/2 tsp. vanilla

      1. Combine pears, sugar and lemon juice in a large, heavy pot. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook, covered, 15 minutes or until pears are very tender and mushy.

      2. Drain pears well over small, heavy bottomed saucepan, reserving liquid. Bring this liquid to a boil. Cook over medium heat, stirring alot, because it will burn easily, until it has reduced to 1/4 cup. Stir in butter.

      3. Place pears in blender and process until smooth. Pour into a large bowl. Add the hot reduced liquid mixture. Stir in vanilla. Store in jars in the fridge for up to 4 weeks.

  24. Recently, we bought apple butter at the store (I know- shame on me. I didn’t realize we were out and the boys wanted pb&ab sammies for lunch the next day.) When they tasted storebought apple butter for the first time, my oldest said “What is this? I thought you got apple butter!” I’m so proud! I usually make apple and pumpkin butter and ginger-pear preserves (all of which can be used to make an incredible quick bread), but would love to try my hand at pear butter!

  25. I made apple butter for the first time last weekend. I think we might have the same cast iron enamel pots. Is yours a Food Network one? My spoon looks the same and everything. It is my favorite pan to use for cooking down food to can, and for making soups. I have been looking for a canning blog to follow for a few months now. Glad I run across yours, it’s ,my favorite!

  26. Thank you so much for posting this recipe for fruit butter. I’ve been thinking about making some for a while as Christmas presents for my family. I’m not too sure how they’ll like it…last time I gave my parents some yellow tomatoes my dad refused to eat them because they weren’t “real” red tomatoes. *Sigh* Fruit butter isn’t real butter either but he might eat it if I say it’s just super thick jam. Thanks again for the recipe.

  27. I envy people with access to sweet apples! Even to buy . . . Anybody ever do a crabapple butter? What do you think? I’m planning on jelly–probably the better choice for crabapples. I’m interested in pumpkin butter, too.

  28. I’m really interested in getting into canning and preserves and was thinking about a fruit butter as my first attempt. This looks delicious. Hopefully I’ll have the nerve to give it a go!

    Jes, definitely try it. Fruit butters are really easy to make. -Marisa

  29. Last year, my brother and sister-in-law had an old-fashioned apple butter making event on their farm for friends and family. We peeled and cut 15 bushels of apples the night before, put it in an old, huge brass pot, and the next morning, lit a fire under it. The stirring paddle had about an 5 foot arm, and attached paddle in the butter had holes cut into it. It cooked down by at least half, and was very difficult to stir at the end. It was a good time with a fun bunch of people, and really did harken back to the times when people did food preparation communally.

  30. Half a nutmeg? Are we missing a measurement? (not that I measure spices in my applesauce, but…)

    I’m finally going to break down and try my hand at apple butter this year – sounds fairly simple!

    You’re not actually missing a measure. I meant half a nutmeg (the whole kind), grated. If you only have pre-grated nutmeg, use about a teaspoon. -Marisa

  31. Oh, me loves me some fruit butter! I am spending the day Friday making tomato paste and marinara sauce. I have a large bowl of wild plums in my fridge too, that I’m trying to decide what to do with now. Oh, the choices.

  32. It is nice to see that I am not the only one who read and re-read the Little House books, and was fascinated by the food prep! I think I might need to try some pear butter this year. You are inspiring me to try new things this year (this is only my second year of canning/freezing, and I love it!)

  33. I’m a new reader of your site and I love your insight! I’ve been thinking of trying apple butter one of these days, but I’ve never even heard of pear butter! It sounds yummy!

  34. I have a bushel of asian pears. Would you make pear butter with them? Other suggestions? thank you

    Malia, I’ve never made pear butter from asian pears, because I’ve never had more than three or four of them at a time. However, from what I’ve heard, they make exceptional butter. -Marisa

  35. Looks delicious! I’ve put up plenty of jam this summer, but haven’t ever tried making butters. Now that it’s apple-picking season, I’m thrilled to have such helpful instructions!

  36. I just finished reading “Farmer Boy” to my son. He was constantly amazed by how much work they did just to eat. He really loved it and even commented that he would love to live that way. (I am pretty sure that would end after a month with out legos) 🙂 I have always made apple butter, but never any other fruits. Maybe this year I will give it a shot.

  37. This sounds wonderful! I can’t wait to make some for Christmas gifts to go with the peach preserves I’m going to give away. I’ve seen apple butter on the shelves but they all have corn syrup in them so this is a great alternative!

  38. I make a couple of batches of “Caramel Apple Butter” every year, but I’m gonna branch out into a “Ginger Pear Butter” this weekend. Pears are on sale…whoo-hoo!

    I’ve also heard of doing this in a large roasting pan in the oven (set on low), as this gives you more surface area to cook more at one time. Just stir it every 30 min or so.

  39. Never realized that you could make butter out of other fruits besides apple. I’m taking the kids apple picking this weekend. Maybe they will have some pears so I can give this a try.

  40. Marisa, this isn’t the first time I’ve been tempted to think you’re reading my mind. It’s nice to have you in there! I was just about to start the hunt for an apple butter recipe—something I’ve been wanting to try canning since last year but hadn’t gotten around to—and I will definitely try this method. My husband has been reading the Little House books aloud to our kindergartner since the beginning of the summer, which has thrown our own canning efforts into such lovely relief this year. Those books are really something.

  41. oh I’m seriously tempted now to add a fruit butter to my list. I was planning to have applesauce be my last thing to preserve, but oh man, I’m tempted.
    thanks for the pear butter offer. I’d love to taste it 🙂

  42. This site is a gem! I totally understand the “wanting to be Laura Ingalls” thing; I’m still kind of attracted to all things homemade, and various “make-dos.” I am excited to try this recipe not only because I love apple butter, but because I use it often for sweeteness and texture in baked goods, and I like the idea of it being cheaper and more under my control in terms of ingredients. Also, like applesauce, it will make my house smell divine for hours. Thank you!!

  43. I’ve made apple butter (’07) and peach butter (’07) but never pear! Sounds wonderful! I’d love to try yours. I’m hoping to use my Ball book to crank out some pear mincemeat very soon, as my father loves mincemeat pies but I do not. I’m hoping the flavors of the recipe I found will be more appealing for both of us!

  44. I just finished cutting up the pears and putting the pot on for pear butter. I made apple butter last year and will be making more this year for Christmas gifts. I hadn’t canned or made jams for years. Retirement is great!
    Roberta

  45. By the way. Do you have a recipe for lemon curd? I’ve read several places that it isn’t good to can lemon curd, but I love it so much and want to make some for gifts. Any insight? Thanks

  46. Hi – just found your website! I made some zucchini salsa – did my best to remove air bubbles, then did a 30 min water bath. All the jars did seal – but there are still air bubbles in the jars!!! Will it still be ok? Or should I refriderate and use up fairly fast??? Thanks so much! Ina from the Westcoast

  47. […] I like slightly chunky, unsweetened applesauce, seasoned with lots of cinnamon, nutmeg and a dash of cloves (depending on how I’m feeling, sometimes I’ll also add a bit of allspice or powdered ginger), so once the skins are removed and the apples are smashable with the back of a wooden spoon, I’m done. However, if you like a smoother product, feel free to puree or run through a food mill (at this point, you could also go in a different direction and cook it down further, for apple butter). […]

  48. Do you have to bring the sauce back to a simmer before adding it to the slow cooker? And if you have a low and a high setting, which should you use?

  49. Jessica, You don’t have to bring the sauce back to a simmer before putting it in the slow cooker. Just put it in there and cook on low until it’s thick and reduced. I often do mine overnight.

  50. I have started a batch of peach butter using your technique. (I’m blogging about it.) The peachsauce is waiting in the refrigerator, to be cooked down over night in my slow cooker.

  51. I cooked peaches down into sauce last night. I started to cook them down into butter 4.5 hours ago and the batch isn’t even close. Any extra tips or hints as to when I know the butter is actually done? I assumed cooking into sauce would lessen the time.

    Thank you!

  52. I spent a whole day on my peach butter and am not thrilled with the result. It turned out gummy, like a thick spreadable “fruit leather” kind of product. I will eat it, since I used so many of my precious peaches in it, but it’s not anything I’m happy enough with to share with friends. Wondering what I might have done wrong to end up with this gumminess? Is that an overcooking thing? This was my first attempt. I want to get it right next month when I try apple butter.

    • It sounds like you overcooked it. When making fruit butters, it’s important to taste through the process and stop before it’s totally to the consistency you want when it’s cool. Because things run more freely when hot, cooled butters will always be thicker than they are when hot.

  53. I’m working on a batch of pear butter. I’ve been cooking it in the crockpot all day, but it’s nowhere near butter consistency. It’s still just like pear sauce. What could I be doing wrong?

  54. It’s been in the crockpot since 10am this morning, but I had to keep the lid on until about 5pm. The lid has been off for 3 hours now. I’m letting out too much heat, right? I should have propped the lid like you said. With the lid propped, about how long should it have to cook on low?

    • Jessie, here’s what I would do. I would prop the lid with a wooden spoon or chopstick and cook it until you’re ready to go to bed. Right before you’re done for the night, check it and see if you’re happy with the consistency. If you are, put it in a big container, refrigerate it for the night, reheat it tomorrow and can it up. If you’re not happy with it, still put it in the fridge for the night. Then tomorrow, cook it again until it’s reached a consistency that you like.

  55. Hello, made your apple butter yesterday–what a difference using immersion blender makes! Thanks so much for that idea–the first apple butter I’ve made that did get to proper consistancy and color. But, I too, have air bubbles in finished, water-bath canned product. Is it still shelf stable?

  56. Pear butter is great on Boston Brown Bread. Another “historic” recipe that I grew up with, and thinking about how the settlers two hundred years ago were eating the same thing.

  57. I’m going to try making peach butter in the crockpot (as soon as my peaches are ripened…) and wondered if you use any particular ratio of sugar to cooked down fruit? I know I read from you before that butters don’t “last” as long as jams and jellies since the sugar content is lower, but do I need to be careful that I have enough sugar? Thanks!! (I’m looking forward to it, since I enjoyed your Strawberry Rhubarb Butter recipe so much!)

  58. Rebecca, I simply add sugar to taste in fruit butters. I made a slow cooker full of pear butter over the weekend, and ended up adding just 1 1/2 cups of sugar to the six pints of product that it made. Sugar doesn’t do anything for safety, so you could actually can apple, pear and peach butters without any sugar at all. However, the more sugar the longer the life. I imagine my pear butter, with it’s 1 1/2 cups of sugar, will be of perfectly good quality for 6-8 months before it starts to loose some goodness.

  59. […] 101 series, and of course, I love all her recipes. I want to have a picnic and bring my own canned pear butter and garlic pickles, and would love to start making my own stock for fall soups. If you need yummy […]

  60. Rookie here… I’m new to canning (attempt #1 will take place next week). I can’t tell from the post whether or not to seed/core the fruit. It seems that seedless would be the way to go for smooth fruit butter, but from my reading most of the pectin is in the seeds. Any help would be appreciated! Thank you!

  61. I have been making Microwave Apple Butter for years. The recipe was in the “Complete Book of Canning”by Ortho books. The recipe calls for applesauce but I make fresh applesauce. I’ve also added peaches and apricots to the apples. It does make small batches but my family and friends love it. The book was put out by Chevron Chemical Company. Hope you can find it.

  62. I have a neighbor who lets his pears rot. 2 years ago he let me pick all I wanted and I made gingered pears to have with gingerbread. Mmm, mmmm. This year I will try the pear butter. Only ever heard of apple butter. My mother taught me how to can and I thank her in my heart everyday for that. It keeps me close to her now that she is gone. Would love to try your pear butter. Thanks for a wonderful website.

  63. Hi! I wasn’t sure where to put this, but figured I’d start here. I have a neighbor who is giving me ALL of his apples….there are hundreds of pounds of apples on his trees. I made apple butter a few weeks ago with a crockpot full of apples, so I just peeled em and cored em and threw them in…..I cannot really see myself peeling this many apples, so I assume I need a food mill….??

    Any suggestions on which brand or size? or which brand to avoid?

    Any help at all would be so appreciated. Thank you!

  64. Your site is amazing. I’ve learned so much from reading here. I made your skillet jam (peach) the other night and it came out fantastic. Nothing but peaches honey and a little lemon juice.

    I’m also going to try the refrigerator pickles tomorrow.

    I still have chopped peaches left… about 7 cups worth… how much of the spices and honey should I add (for peach butter)?

    Thank you!!

    • Steph, there’s no formula I can give you for adding spices and honey. Cook the peaches down into butter and then taste it. Add honey and the spices until it tastes good to you. Sometimes you also need a bit of lemon juice to balance all the flavors.

  65. marisa, I am *grateful* for your site. I’ve been canning for a few years now (jams, pickles, tomatoes), and somewhere I read (quite possibly in the Ball Blue Book of Preserving) that one should only use “published recipes” or something to that effect. Then I read your lovely “some of this, some of that, the amount of sweetener is up to you” style directions and I wonder if the Ball Book is really just looking out for newbie canners to not stuff just anything in a jar, or are the ratios of the ingredients really critical for successful food preservation? Thanks!! And thank you for fielding so many canning questions!!

  66. I’m on my second batch of peach butter and I’m shocked at how long it’s taking to cook down! My first batch cooked on nearly the lowest burner heat for about 8 hours before I gave up and canned it. It was beginning to get sticky like jam. I’m almost to 8 hours with my second batch. It’s just nowhere near “mounding up on a spoon” or leaving a trail when I pass a spoon across the bottom of the pan. I used nearly 4 quarts of mashed peaches and around 4 cups of sugar. They were quite juicy, but this is getting ridiculous! What am I doing wrong?

    • When I make fruit butters, I usually do about 18-24 hours in the crockpot. It just takes a long time. Maybe your burner is lower.

  67. Love these tips! I cooked down a batch of apple pear butter today for six hours and it was heavenly. One of my jars was still warm when I cracked it open to put on biscuits for dinner. Thanks for your wonderful site!

  68. Came across your blog and really enjoy it! I make apple, peach, pear and plum butter from the fruit off our trees (we grow mulberry, pear, apple, peach, plum, cherry, high bush cranberry, strawberry, blueberry, blackberry, gooseberry, boisenberry, blackberry, raspberry and loads of grapes). I enjoy experimenting and making different combinations -one favorite is mulberry/raspberry. I decided to try making chocolate apple butter and it is a big favorite. Instead of using spices I put cocoa in the pot. I have also added cherry flavoring and orange flavoring with the chocolate. I love seeing the watermelon jelly recipe (I think my hubby will love that!). I have childhood memories of my grandmother “putting up” food, be it canning, freezing or drying. I learned to make apple butter at the age of 9. The lady who taught me was 90 years to the day older than me. I called her Grandma Bales though she was not related, and I loved her dearly. At 99 Grandma Bales made apple butter on a wood stove and used a hand pump to pump the water. Keep cooking!

  69. This is what I want to try as my first canning project. So, of course, I have a question or 2 (hope they’re not dumb)…When you say cook the fruit down into sauce with a little bit of water, is it obvious when it has reached that point? How much is a little bit? And, lastly, I thought that canning pretty much made foods shelf stable indefinitely? Is 6 months the absolute limit? Thank you so much for your site. I am very excited to try a number of your recipes (lemon curd, yumm!). Thanks in advance, Cat

  70. Last fall I made apple butter in my Grade 1 classroom in my crockpot, using a recipe I found on Cooking Light.

    I’m allergic to raw apples (heat destroys the protein I’m allergic to), but the CSA we belonged to at the time had an orchard and we were getting part of our share as apples, so I needed a way to use them up. This turned it into a fun, teachable moment. And for the next month or so we had apple butter to put on our melba toast at snack time.

  71. I looked at many ways of making apple butter and finally settled on yours. I like that you are open to less or no sugar. I also liked your methodology.

    • Emily, if you used cider to sweeten, you’d need to add it at the very beginning of cooking, because the whole point of a fruit butter is to cook all the liquid out of the fruit to concentrate its sweetness. So you wouldn’t want to add a bunch of liquid at the end, when you’d just finished cooking it down.

  72. I made my second batch of apple butter, and am concerned because the butter is browning around the few air bubbles I was unable to get out. The butter on the top of the jar touching the headspace is also becoming a darker brown. The seals seem solid. Should I be concerned?

  73. I grew up with fresh vegetables all year long and canning was important. Even though we gave much of it away, still, my dad was the gardener and he had the 3 of us to be his “spies”. We would spy for him for bugs and such as well as looking out for growing vegetables that were ready to be picked! What fun we had!
    As an adult I have been canning in small batches, mostly when I can beg from friends who have trees and bushes that they let the birds eat…I want the birds to share with me! I am looking forward to trying the pear butter recipes…my friend Sharon has a pear tree that breaks branches from so much fruit and the only one who gets to eat them is the backyard mule…this time I will be sharing with the neighborhood “ass”, but I’m not proud!
    Happy Canning and thanks so much. 🙂

  74. Hello! WOW just found your website, this looks so yummy! I want to try it, can I get a copy of the complete recipe, how much fruit you use ect?

  75. Do you write for a living? If not, you should. I found your intro soothing and easy to follow. I usually skip the intro on recipes that I look up online. Yours was economical, interesting, and inviting. You write well.

  76. Hi Marisa, I know you said that this isn’t a recipe, but can you give me a rough idea of the amount of fruit you use for your quantities of spice / lemon juice / sweetener recommended above? Thanks.

  77. I love this recipe for pear butter, but for the holidays I would like to incorporate cranberries into the recipe. How much would I add and does it change any other ingredients in the recipe???

  78. Hi, thanks for this recipe, it sounds delicious. I have excess pears, however I do NOt have a bottling/canning outfit using lids with rings and seals etc.. Can I just put this butter in sterilised jars, place lid on And keep?

    Thanks, Pamela

    • No, you can’t. It doesn’t have enough sugar to keep the mold at bay without being run through a boiling water bath. Either refrigerate or freeze for longer storage.

  79. I have just started making slow cooker fruit butters this year and love them. I did have a minor problem tonight—with piles of both pears and plums in the house, I forgot that the method you lay out on this post is for pears/apples/peaches, not plums. I just made and canned the most delicious plum butter tonight with 1.5 cups brown sugar and a few teaspoons of cardamom (no lemon juice), yield 4 pints. But now I’m concerned…are the plums acidic enough to make a safe product on their own, without really following a recipe?

    • Plums are totally fine to do in this manner as well. They are quite acidic. The only reason they weren’t included in that post is that when I wrote it, I’d not yet made plum butter. If you search the archives of this site, you’ll find many instances of homemade plum butter.

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