Pear Butter with Star Anise, Ginger, and Cardamom

A variation on traditional pear butter, this recipe emphasizes and compliments the more fragrant, flowery flavor of pears. Delicious!

8 - 10 lbs ripe pears, cored and chopped (remove any bruised parts, do not peel)
2+ cups sugar
1/4 cup frozen orange juice concentrate
1 Tbsp grated fresh ginger
2 star anise*
1 tsp cardamom
1 tsp nutmeg

1. Process pear chunks in a blender or food processor in small batches to get a smooth pureé. Pour pear pureé into a large, heavy bottom stock pot. Stir in sugar (1/4 cup for every cup of pureé), orange juice concentrate, ginger, star anise, cardamom, and nutmeg. Taste and adjust flavors if necessary.

2. Cook over medium to medium-low heat, stirring often to prevent burning. Reduce heat if mixture spatters a lot. Allow mixture to gently bubble as it thickens. Simmer for 45 minutes - 2 hours. (Pear butter is ready when a small dab on a chilled plate is not runny.) Remove star anise.

3. Ladle pear butter into hot, sterilized jars (a wide-mouthed canning funnel is oh, so helpful) and seal, allowing for 1/4-inch head space between the pear butter and the rims of the jars. Use proper canning procedures if you would like to store jars outside of the fridge. Process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes (half-pints) or 15 minutes (pints).

* I double the star anise because I love the flavor.

The above recipe is a tweaked, simpler version of this recipe.

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