After some research & a careful review of the "aging” fruit in my garage pantry, I was determined to make a variation of the traditional apple butter recipe. Still good. But even better. The process of layering flavor upon flavor always adds depth & variety to any recipe. I needed to use apples, pears, & ginger. This seemed like the perfect way to do it. Plus, anything with alcohol in it tastes better.
I am on this big kick not to waste, since we have been participating in the fruit & vegetables co-op on a bi-weekly basis. This challenges me to come up with new recipes to encompass the produce we get,& not let anything go to waste.
2 pounds apples (preferably Granny Smith)
2 pounds red Pears
1 cup fresh peeled Ginger (cut into thin slices)
1 cup Water
1 cup dark Rum
4 cups Sugar
A pinch of Salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon Allspice
Juice of 3 Lemons
1 wide 8-quart pan (Stainless steel or copper with stainless steel lining)
A food mill or potato ricer
6-8 8-ounce canning jars
First Stage of Cooking:
Cut the apples & pears into quarters, without peeling them. Cut out the seeds. Put the apples, pears, and ginger chunks into large pot (I use my Dutch oven), then add the vinegar, sugar and dark rum. Cover, bring to a boil, and reduce heat to simmer. Cook the apples, ginger and pears about 45 minutes, until they are very soft. Remove from heat.
Ladle the apple-pear-ginger mixture into a potato ricer, or food mill over a medium sized bowl. Add a dash of salt, and the cinnamon, ground cloves, allspice, lemon rind and juice. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.
Second Stage of Cooking:
Once you run the entire batch through the potato ricer or food mill, cook the mixture in an uncovered, large, wide, thick-bottomed pot on medium low heat, stirring constantly to prevent burning. I use my Dutch oven. It is perfect for this. Scrape the bottom of the pot while you stir to make sure a crust is not forming at the bottom. Cook until thick and smooth (about 1 to 2 hours).
To sterilize my jars for canning, I run them through a cycle in the dishwasher, using very hot water. When your apple-pear butter mixture is ready, pour the mixture into sterilized jars and seal. If you plan to store the apple butter un-refrigerated, make sure to follow proper canning procedures. Before applying the lids, sterilize the lids by placing them in a bowl and pouring boiling water over them. Wipe the rims of the jars clean before applying the lids. I process the jars-sealed, in a boiling hot water bath for 20 minutes to ensure a good seal.