Easy Tips for Preserving Fresh Pears
Delicious Home-Canned Pears
I put up a lot of different kinds of fruit during the year, but I think canning pears is probably the easiest. This recipe really captures all of that fresh taste and goodness—and when you're all done, those canned pears look fantastic in the jars, too.
What You Will Need
The amounts you'll need are described later in the recipe.
- Pears - You can use any kind. I usually use Bartlett or Bosc.
- Lemon - To keep the pears from browning.
- Sugar syrup - Recipe provided below.
- Canning jars - I use the wide-mouthed ones because it's easier to get the pear halves inside.
- Potato peeler - To peel the pears.
- Melon baller - This isn't absolutely necessary, but I think it makes the process easier.
Step 1: Sterilize the Jars and Lids
When it comes to canning and preserving, sterilizing your equipment is very important.
- Jars - I use wide-mouthed pint jars, as well as wide-mouthed quart jars. I load them into my dishwasher and start it. I know that it takes my dishwasher about an hour to finish a complete cycle, so I time everything so that the cycle will finish right around the time I need to use the jars.
- Lids - Place a small pan of water on the stove and bring to a boil. Place the jar lids into the boiling water. This sterilizes the lids, and the heat softens the rubber seals.
Step 2: Prepare the Pears
These are the steps I use to prepare the pears for canning.
- Place a skillet on the counter and fill it with water. Squeeze a lemon into the water. This liquid is where you'll place the pears after you've peeled and cored them. The lemon keeps them from browning.
- Using a potato peeler, peel the skin from the first pear. Cut pear in half vertically (stem to base). Use a melon baller to scoop out the seeds. Use a small knife to remove the stem and the section of the stem that extends into the pear (you'll see it when you cut the pear in half).
- Place the peeled pear halves into the lemon water, and then repeat step 2 with all of your pears. (Note: I haven't specified the number of pears for this recipe because—if you're like me—you will use whatever number of pears you can get your hands on. This recipe is so easy that you can adjust it for a small batch of 6 or 8 pears, or an entire boxful, like I finished canning this evening.)
Step 3: Make the Sugar Syrup
The pears you buy in cans at the store are usually packed in heavy syrup. I think that the sweetness gets in the way of the fresh taste of pears.
I make my own light sugar syrup—and it's incredibly easy to make.
- 2 cups sugar
- 4 cups water
- In a large pot, combine the sugar and water and stir over a low flame. (Use a large pot because you will soon be adding the pears.)
- Once sugar has dissolved, increase heat to high and bring mixture to a boil. I usually start my sugar syrup when I'm about halfway finished with preparing my pears. The syrup will be boiling by the time I'm finished with the pears and ready for the next step.
Step 4: Can the Pears
Ok, now we're ready to actually can the pears.
- When sugar syrup has come to the boil, add prepared pears to the pot and return to the boil. This won't take long—and the moment it begins to boil, you're ready to go.
- Once jars are clean—and HOT!—from the dishwasher, carefully begin packing them with the hot pears. I use a slotted spoon to remove the pears from the hot sugar syrup. Some of the pears will easily fit as halves, but sometimes you'll need to cut them into quarters so that you can pack more pears into the jars.
- Using a funnel, pour boiling sugar syrup over pears. Make sure that the pears are fully covered by the sugar syrup, then place a lid on top of it. Screw the bands onto the jars, and then turn the jars upside down on the counter.
- Once all jars have been filled, and they're all upside down, set a timer for about 12 minutes. Once the timer goes off, turn the jars right side up.
- Allow jars to come to room temperature for about 24 hours. I usually wipe the jars with a wet cloth, since you may have sticky jars where a little syrup might have spilled.
That's all there is to it! Now you can store your canned pears in the pantry. Later, when you want the taste of fresh pears, you can place a jar in the refrigerator (I like mine cold) and have them as a snack, as a topping for vanilla ice cream, or as a filling for cobblers or pear crisps.
That's pretty easy, isn't it? And they look beautiful in the jars.
Tips About Timing
- With all of these steps, some people wonder about how to time everything in the kitchen. I usually start the jars in the dishwasher, then I start prepping the pears. When I'm halfway finished with the pears, I begin making the sugar syrup on the stove. Once the sugar syrup comes to the boil, I'm usually ready to add the pears to the pot.
- In terms of how long the canned pears will be good for, I think that you should plan to eat them within six months of canning.
A Word About My Technique
This is the way I've been canning pears for years. Some people aren't comfortable canning without putting the jars through a pressure cooker or using a hot water bath. If this is the way you prefer to do it, then by all means, continue to do it that way! This article just explains my own canning technique.
Want to Freeze Your Pears Instead?
- How To Freeze Fresh Pears
It's so easy to preserve pears in your freezer. I love a delicious pear, and when they start coming into season, they're everywhere. We have friends with trees and they give us boxes full of them.