The Cottage Smallholder

stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

Pear butter recipe


Photo: Picking pears

Photo: Picking pears

Having pointed you in the direction of Chickens in the Road and Suzanne’s tale of making pear butter with Georgia, I just had to try this delicacy for myself. I bought some American cups at TKMaxx last year and they are handy when trying recipes from North America.

We are lucky. We have a young pear tree that is planted over the grave of a very special pug. Titus lived with my sister and was a great companion to my first Min Pin, Fly. In fact he gave solace to many people who offered an ample lap to this small black being. He wasn’t into the present size 6 model culture – preferring wide laps and warm girths.  Especially during the winter.

Our pear tree was supposed to be a Comice. But the labels got muddled sometime before my sister bought it and I am now the proud owner of a Conference pear tree. I used to wonder why these pears were always sold unripe (not squishy). Since nurturing my very own tree I have discovered that they are hard until they turn bad.

Our Belgian Pears recipe is perfect for this type of hard pear. Pear butter was probably designed for a soft juicy fruit – like a Bartlett. So the first stage of softening the pears took about three hours and I needed to add more water than Suzanne’s recipe suggests. I also added a teaspoonful of lemon juice so that the pears would not go brown.

Having added lemon juice I had the freedom to play with the sugar a bit and cut it down by 25%. I doubled the orange zest, juice and nutmeg.  The result was delicious – Danny was scraping out the pot and guzzling with pug like glee.

I’m planning to use this as a base for chic little individual apple or pear tarts this winter. When the dehydrator arrives we will be slicing and drying our own apples and pears for the pie toppings.

The only drawback to this recipe was that 3.5 lbs (1.5 kilos) of pears only made three jars of butter. But the flavour is so intense that I reckon it’s worth the trouble.

I have used the American measurements here. There’s a great conversion site here .

Pear butter recipe (adapted from Suzanne’s recipe from Chickens in the Road)


  • 3.5 lbs of hard pears (peeled, cored and sliced)
  • 2 cups of water (if you are using soft pears use half a cup of water – you can always add more if the mixture gets dry)
  • 1 tsp of lemon juice
  • Half a tsp of freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 tsp of orange zest (this was the zest from one orange)
  • Third of a cup of freshly squeezed orange juice (this was the juice from one orange)
  • 1.5 cups of white granulated sugar


  1. Put the sliced pears, lemon juice and water into a heavy bottomed saucepan and heat gently until the pears soften completely (lid on to intensify the flavours). Stir every now and then to stop the pears sticking. Add more water if necessary.
  2. Puree the soft pears – I used a stick blender.
  3. Add the orange zest, orange juice, sugar and nutmeg. Stir well and let the mixture thicken over a very low heat (lid off). I didn’t want this to be sliceable so when the mixture could be heaped on a teaspoon I poured it into hot sterilised jars and sealed them with plastic lined metal lids immediately. Suzanne suggests processing them in a hot water bath for ten minutes. As the seals on my lids popped down quickly, I skipped that stage.

  Leave a reply


  1. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Georgette

    Yes it should keep for about a year.

  2. georgette

    hi there,
    this sounds great. i was wondering, does this last for long periods as long as it’s in a sealed jar? was thinking of making now for xmas pressies???
    thanks georgette

  3. Fiona Nevile

    Hello Limeleaf

    I like the idea of using grapefruit – thanks for sharing.

  4. I made this and it worked well. I used grapefruit instead of orange, since that’s what I had. We’ve been eating it on pita bread with cheddar cheese on top! Thanks for the recipe.

  5. Fiona Nevile

    Hello Ruthdigs

    It is spread on toast in America and also stirred into cereal for breakfast , apparently. It tastes very good and I know that it will have a miriad of uses over the next year.

    Hi Joanna

    Great the mushroom were O.K.

    Interesting about the sugar levels in American recipes. Must give the Betty Crocker one a try. Thanks for the link.

    Hello Joan

    I wouldn’t have discovered this ‘secret’ if the internet didn’t exist. It does break down boundaries. Hope that you have a bumper crop of pears next year.

    Hi KarenO

    That keeps on happening to me. My bullace picking grounds were decimated in August. Sob.

    You might find another tree with luck.

    Hi Anita

    Delighted that you are enjoying the site.

    Pear butter looks a bit like soft apple sauce. It is spreadable. It would be tasty on toast or as a filling for pies and pastries.

  6. Hi there
    I am from the beautiful Constantia Valley in Cape Town South Africa and came across your website by chance as I was searching for a pork belly recipe. I have sat glued to your site for a couple of hours now reading all your lovely news and recipes.
    I am a frustrated chef who loves trying new recipes on all my friends and they love eating all my samples. I am totally baffled – please explain what “pear butter” looks like as I expected the recipe to have “butter” in it!! I have been preserving apples in aniseed and cinamon and it is delicious with all sorts of recipes. Your recipe sounds a lot like preserved fruit recipes. Please elighten me. PS the pork belly was delicious.
    Warm regards

  7. I made apple butter for the first time last year and it was delicious. We don’t eat a lot on toast so I made some Danish pastries and used this to spread in the middle – scrumptious. Have just been to my ‘nasty apple’ tree to collect more apple for a good batch of basic chutney to see us over the winter and someone has sheared back the part that overhangs the path!! We can’t reach the rest so it was lean pickings I’m afraid. Now what am I going to do! Good job everything else is in such proliferation this year.

  8. My mother always made pear butter and apple butter every year in Oregon. We lived in an area with hundreds of pear and apple orchards and the fruit was easy to come by.

    My husband and I have two pear trees. We only had a crop of five pears this year but next year we should have more and I will definately be making pear butter. There is just nothing better on toast for breakfast.

  9. I find that I have to cut the sugar content down on most American recipes. When we lived in America we found even ordinary sliced bread was sweet, fine for toast and jam but not for an old fashioned ham sandwich, cured me of a sweet tooth though for a while. Well must get off and make something to eat and since we now live in Latvia and my sweet tooth has returned I think I had better make some Betty Crocker’s zucchini bread with half the sugar ( and some scones.

    Oh by the way the mushrooms must have been okay we are still alive

  10. This sounds really interesting, I’ve never tried fruit butter. What do you eat them with? Is it much the same as fruit cheese?
    Incidentally, last time I was in poundland they had sets of plastic measures with the US cups on.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

HTML tags are not allowed.

2,231,000 Spambots Blocked by Simple Comments

Copyright © 2006-2012 Cottage Smallholder      Our Privacy Policy      Advertise on Cottage Smallholder