Pears, Anyone?

Just because I love my husband does not mean I have to love pears.

And just because my husband loves pears does not mean that we need to buy a half peck of pears.

And just because we buy a half peck of pears does not mean that I need to use them all up immediately, before they get too ripe.

Oh wait, yes I do!

I just don’t love pears. They’re kind of slimy and a little on the deceitful side. I mean, here’s this pear in the produce section, smiling up at you, “Pick me, pick me!” And you get it home and it’s crunchy and gritty and not at all ripe, which wouldn’t matter anyways because ripe pears are slimy. So different from apples, pears are. Apples put on a happy face and they’re crisp and happy inside as well. When you buy an apple at the store, it is what it is – ripe and ready for munching or cooking.

But along with a half peck of apples for me, we had to pick up some pears as well. So this morning I started off by making apple butter in the crockpot. It turned out fabulous. I only made about a half batch, using about 8-9 apples. And I used just a little over a cup of sugar and adjusted the spices accordingly. Otherwise I followed the directions pretty closely. That extra hour uncovered at the end seems to be the key to allowing the mixture to set up a bit. I did not use anything but a whisk to stir the mixture; it is slightly chunky but will still spread well on my toasted bagel, believe me!

Back to the pears though, the pears I do not love. What does one make with pears? Fresh pears with cheese is okay or I can deal with them in a salad. Olive Garden had a wonderful pear gorgonzola ravioli a few months ago that was to die for. But these dishes would never fly with Pear-boy, to whom the best spaghetti is macaroni noodles covered with tomato sauce right out of the can!

So I decided to follow suit and just try some pear butter, using the same slow cooker principle. I found this recipe which attempts to make it NOT taste like apple butter, which makes sense to me. It called for some unusual ingredients, one being star anise. Huh? I thought it was some exotic fruit but apparently it’s an ingredient used in Chinese cooking, which explains why I couldn’t find it in the produce section. Instead I substituted some dried figs. Before you go scratching your head, here’s my logic: Two popular Christmas songs, We Wish You A Merry Christmas and The Twelve Days of Christmas, reference these fruits – figgy pudding and a partridge in a pear tree! So they must go together, right? And if Tom on the Next Food Network Star can try making a steak out of bacon, then I can put pears and figs together.

As I speak, ingredients are simmering away and hopefully we’ll wake up to some wonderful aroma and equally wonderful pear concoction.