Our tomatoes are getting tired and packing up for the winter, but the apples and pears are having a hay day!
Some dear friends invited us to come and pick pears from their pear tree last week. She said they had an abundance, so I thought we might get a basket or two, but we ended up with about 4 bushels! Four beautiful bushels! That’s a lot of pears!
My son can eat a lot, but this was a stretch, so we decided to preserve some by making pear sauce and canning it. While a lot of people make applesauce this time of year, I hardly ever hear about pear sauce. But pear sauce is so easy to make and so incredibly delicious, you’re really missing out if you don’t try some!
Here’s How to Make Your Very Own Pear Sauce
1. First, choose some ripe, sweet pears. Naturally, the sweeter the pear, the sweeter your pear sauce will be.
2. Next, wash your pears.
3. Begin heating a little bit of water or orange juice in a very large pan over medium heat. You’ll need about 1/4 cup for just a few pears or 1/2 cup for 12 to 36 cups of pears quarters. If you’re doing more than 36 cups of pears, you’re probably going to need an additional pan, so you’ll want another 1/2 cup of juice in the second pan too.
You don’t need much liquid, and the exact amount you need will depend on how juicy your pears are and how quickly they release their own juices. Try not to use more liquid than needed, because it’ll dilute your delicious pear flavor.
4. Cut pears off the core.
I’ve noticed that many people use an apple corer to cut out the core, or they cut the pear into halves or quarters and then remove the core with a paring knife or a melon baller, but I’ve found the fastest way for me is to just use a knife to cut the pear off the core while holding the pear in my hand over top of the pan I’m putting the pears into. I can prepare the pears almost twice as fast this way.
NOTE: There is no need to peel the pears. This pear sauce is made with the skins on (they get all blended up) and is actually richer and creamier this way. (However, I did peel the pears for the photo at the beginning of this post; it was a little more photogenic this way.)
Some people use a food mill to make pear sauce, but we like this method better because, once again, the result is a richer and creamier sauce.
5. If you aren’t using the touch-it-once method above, add your pears to the hot liquid. If your pears are already in the pan, go to step #6 🙂
6. Stir often to prevent pears from scorching on the bottom of the pan.
The pears should quickly start making their own juice. But if not, reducing the heat and stirring often is usually a better option than adding more liquid so as to not dilute the pear flavor.
7. Bring pears to boil. Don’t cover your pan – for the best flavor, you want as much extra liquid as possible to evaporate.
8. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. If you’re making a very, very small batch, simmer time can be reduced by about 10 minutes.
9. When pears are cooked, remove from heat. Allow to cool slightly.
10. Using a large slotted spoon, transfer pears to a blender jar. Be sure to drain the pears well with the spoon so your sauce won’t be too thin.
NOTE: You can wait for your pears to cool before you blend them, but they’ll be easier to blend and your pear sauce will be thicker if you blend the pears while still very warm. However, be sure to use caution when blending hot foods in a blender. (Read this post for more information about blending hot ingredients in a blender.)
11. Blend until very smooth. A high-power blender is helpful (maybe essential) for getting the pear sauce silky-smooth. If you don’t have a heavy-duty blender, be sure to blend the sauce for a long time to get rid of all traces of pear skin.
Preserving Your Pear Sauce
We’ve been enjoying some freshly-made sauce, but we also canned some for the winter. One of the best things about preserving pears by making them into sauce instead of regular canned pears means you use a lot less sugar (like zero) and a lot less time (you don’t have to peel the pears when making pear sauce if you have a good blender).
I make canned pear sauce in the same way as I do apple sauce, except I add 2 teaspoons of lemon juice for each quart of sauce. This is to increase the acidity since apples are more acidic than pears.
Need more detail? I have step-by-step instructions for canning pear sauce or apple sauce for you here.
The book, Preserving Summer’s Bounty: A Quick and Easy Guide to Freezing, Canning, and Preserving, and Drying What You Grow, is also an excellent resource for comprehensive instructions on how to preserve every thing from asparagus to strawberries to zucchini.
How Many Pears Equals How Many Quarts?
Four pounds of fresh pears will yield approximately 1 quart of pear sauce.
There are about 2 to 3 large pears in a pound, 3 to 4 medium pears to a pound, and about 4 to 5 very small pears in a pound.
One bushel of pears weighs about 55 pounds.
How to Eat Pear Sauce
You can enjoy pear sauce any way that you would applesauce. We think it’s great over waffles or toast – especially if there’s a bottom layer of peanut butter on the waffles or toast. Pear sauce can also add some natural sweetness to your oatmeal. Or how about a bowlful of granola mixed with applesauce and pear sauce and then topped with blueberries. Oooooooooooooh yummmmmmm!! And of course you can use pear sauce to replace some or all of the oil in cake, cookie, or muffin recipes. I’ve also heard warm pear sauce is fabulous over ice cream, but I’ve never tried it that way.
Or you can just eat a big bowl of it!
Sugar-Free Pear Sauce
This creamy pear sauce is a delicious change from applesauce.
- 12 cups fresh pear quarters
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- Place orange juice into a large pan and begin heating.
- Wash pears and cut into quarters. Add quarters to hot orange juice and bring to boil.
- Cook at a very low boil for 30 minutes, stirring often (especially at the beginning) to prevent scorching.
- Using a large slotted spoon, transfer pears to blender (draining them well). (A heavy-duty blenderworks best for this recipe; other blenders may not get the pear sauce smooth enough.)
- Blend until very smooth.
Makes approximately 1 1/2 quarts of sauce.