Wednesday, October 19

Recipe: Really Easy Low Sugar Pear Butter Cooked in the Oven

Very ripe pears are the secret to this flavorful, foolproof pear butter that keeps in the fridge for a few weeks and freezes well. No canning required! (recipe here).

Pears are in season, and there's nothing like homemade pear butter. This popular Really Easy Low Sugar Pear Butter I've been making for years in the oven is so simple and it tastes divine.

To make this recipe, you will not have to:

- Peel and core your pears.
- Fill up a sink with dirty pots and pans.
- Boil your fruit in water to cook it and then pour that flavor- and nutrient-filled water out.
- Babysit a simmering pot on the stove for hours, stirring every few minutes so that it doesn't scorch.
- Use anywhere near a cup of sugar per each cup of fruit (as many recipes do).
- Tell the lucky eaters of your fabulous homemade pear butter just how little effort it actually took to make it.

You will need a food mill and about two and a half hours of time, though the total hands-on work is maybe 20 minutes. You will also need very ripe pears; the riper they are, the sweeter they are. This is a great way to use up bruised and battered pears, which taste extra sweet.

Pears are plentiful and cheap right now, and in many places they're available locally grown. Unfortunately pears are also high on the Environmental Working Group's list of Most Contaminated Produce (strawberries and apples are #1 and #2 this year), so it's especially important to seek out organic pears if at all possible.

A good mature pear tree can literally produce several hundred pounds of fruit each year, so ask around. You might discover that a friend or neighbor would love for you to take a bushel or two off their hands. You can also search for fresh pears near you.

If you're facing a mountain of ripe pears, making pear butter is the perfect way to use it up. You can process jars of pear butter in a water bath canner, but it will keep unprocessed in the refrigerator for at least a couple of weeks (I never have any around longer than that), and it also freezes well.

Homemade pear butter makes a wonderful gift, and if you don't want to bother with the canning process, simply tell the recipient to stick their jar in the fridge and enjoy it right away.

Thursday, October 6

Recipe: Soft and Chewy Oatmeal Coconut Cookies Made with Unsweetened Coconut

Buttery and full of coconut flavor, these cute little oatmeal cookies are an old-fashioned sweet treat everyone will love (recipe here).

I came up with the recipe for these Soft and Chewy Oatmeal Coconut Cookies back in 2012 and they've been getting rave reviews ever since. They're thin, chewy, easy to make, and really hard to stop eating.

If you've never tasted natural, unsweetened shredded coconut, you're in for a nice surprise. The coconut flavor really comes through, and unlike the highly processed sweetened stuff, it doesn't contain preservatives like propylene glycol and sodium metabisulfite. A couple of years ago I discovered Saigon cinnamon, and the flavor is amazing.

These cookies taste even better the next day and they freeze beautifully. Pack them in lunches, try them with a cup of tea, or serve them up with a glass of cold milk for a satisfying after school snack. I even like them for breakfast.