Friday, September 27, 2013

Harvest Pearsauce

It seems like fall snuck up on me this year- and pounced. We went from 80 degrees one week to 50's the next, and with the dip the trees exploded with color, apples starting falling to the ground along every road side and the wool vests burst onto the scene.

I have had the pleasure of slightly too many pears coming my way this year (can you ever have too many?). They came about a month ago when a client shot me an email that her pears were ready, and invited me to take some home to work into her wedding menu. Yes, please. 5 gallons later, we had Pear Ginger Honey Preserves for the VT Cheese Board and chopped frozen pears galore for a Butternut Squash Pear Soup, to be served as passed hor d'oeuvre "shooters".  With a bit of a pile up in the freezer, I decided to pull some out this week for some Pearsauce.

Don't hold your breath- but this might even turn into "Pear Cider Donuts" later next week- energy levels permitting.

Organically grown pears don't always look pretty, but its mostly a cosmetic thing. Sure, you have to cut away the occasional rotten spot or insect hole, but the majority of the fruit is absolutely delicious. They have a short harvest season and life-span off the stem, so it is best to process them right away after harvest. I realize this post might be a little late for this year's harvest, but maybe it will get you thinking for the next.

I just washed, cored and chopped these babies, threw them in some freezer bags and froze until solid. Not peeling the pears cuts way down on prep time, and saves the insoluble fiber found mostly in the skin. Once it is pureed, no one will even notice.

When they defrost, much of the juice is released, which is a potently sweet syrup in its own right. I just poured that right into the pot with the thawed pears for this sauce- no additional sweetener needed. The result is absolutely delicious. The texture is distinctly pear, with a slight grit that you might not be used to with applesauce. My advice: just embrace it. YUM.

Harvest Pearsauce
Makes 1 quart

8 cups fresh or 6 cups thawed pear chunks, washed chopped with peel on
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. nutmeg


Put all ingredients in a small pot, cover and place over medium heat until you have a serious simmer. Turn the heat down slightly and continue to cook down for 10-20 minutes.

With an immersion blender, puree mixture until nice and smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings to your preference- optional additions could be grated ginger, maple syrup, clove, or cardamon.