Pear butter is often available for purchase at farmers markets, specialty stores, and supermarkets. Made by slow-cooking pureed pears and sugar, this sweet spread may be made locally in small batches, or mass-produced. Shoppers who wish to purchase pear butter often consider how the product was processed and packaged, what additives may have been used in the recipe, cost, and quantities available.
Farmers markets and small shops may sell pear butter that was made or canned by local individuals. Some shoppers prefer the homemade quality of these kinds of fruit butters, while others would rather have a mass-produced product because of the required safety testing, or because they prefer a more thoroughly processed taste and consistency. Whether purchasing a local or mass-produced butter, shoppers should always make sure containers' seals are intact and packaging is not cracked or damaged.
Traditional pear butter has a high sugar content and is usually not recommended in large quantities for diabetics or others who may need to avoid sugar. Low-sugar varieties are also available. Shoppers should either check nutrition labels or ask the seller to determine the sugar content of the pear butter being considered.
Pears must be mixed with sugar, heated, and mashed to form pear sauce before the sauce can be slow-cooked to become a butter. Some connoisseurs of pear butter observe differences in taste and texture depending on whether fresh pears are used to create the pear sauce, or a pear sauce that has already been processed is used. These consumers often avoid mass-produced butters that state on the label that the pears were from concentrate. They also may ask small, local producers whether they used fresh pears in the recipe. Some shoppers may ask producers which variety of pear was used, as Bartlett pears are the variety most often recommended for fruit butter due to their meaty texture and strong flavor.
Pear butters are often made with other seasonings and flavorings, such as brown sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla. Some shoppers enjoy the complexity of these flavors, while others prefer the simple taste of plain pear butter. Product labels and manufacturers will usually reveal what, if anything, was added to the recipe besides pears, sugar, and water.
Making pear butter is a time-consuming process that requires a large amount of pears. Small, local manufacturers often charge higher prices and make smaller quantities than mass producers. When a handmade product is desired, but bulk quantities are necessary, some makers may be able to take an order in advance and have it prepared for a specified date.