Canning Pears Recipe
Canning pears in a light syrup is a great way to preserve your pear harvest. Enjoy eating your canned pears later as a side dish, in oatmeal, or use them to make pear muffins, pear cookies, or pear cobbler.
Ingredients Needed for Canning Pears
- Pears: Once ripe, pears have an extremely short shelf life of about 4 days in the fridge. Pick pears before they are ripe, once the first ones start falling off the tree (I notice the pears on the ground while mowing). In zone 5, this is usually the second week of August. Save some Amazon cardboard boxes (we usually have a bunch from back-to-school shopping), and store the pears in think layers in the boxes for about 2 weeks. They will be perfectly ripe for canning (in zone 5 this is usually the last weekend of August). Pick out any bad pears periodically while ripening. Note: pear trees can be biennial bearing, meaning they produce a large crop one year, and a small crop the next. Our elderly pear trees are biennial bearing, but alternate the large crops with our mature apple trees. You can learn more about the health benefits of pears in this article.
- Honey: A light syrup is needed to preserve the pears. You can adjust the sweetness of the pears by adding or reducing the honey (or sugar). I find a light syrup makes the best tasting pears.
- Lemon Juice: Lemon juice in water is an easy way to prevent the pears from browning while peeling and slicing them. If you work quickly and in small batches, you may not need the lemon juice. We have two large pear trees that produce about 50 pounds of pears every other year.
Equipment Needed for Canned Pears
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How to Water Bath Can Pears
This canned pear recipe makes about 12 half-pint jars. Use the 2x to make 12 pint jars (or 9 pints and 6 half pints), or the 3x to make 9 quart jars and (or 7 quarts and 4 pints). A standard water bath canner will hold 12 half-pint jars, 9 pint jars, or 7 quart jars per batch.
- 6-9 pounds Pears (about 12-18 medium pears)
- 1⅔ cups Honey (can substitute sugar)
- 4 cups Water
Pear Preservative (to prevent browning)
- ¼ cup Lemon Juice (optional)
- 4 cups Water (optional)
- Clean and sterilize the jars, lids, and rings for canning. Use a sink full of extremely hot water, or you can run them through the dishwasher.
- Measure the amount of water needed in the water bath canner by filling the jars with water, and placing them in the water bath canner on the rack. Fill the water bath canner until the jars are completely submerged in water, giving an extra inch of water for evaporation. Pull the full jars of water out, and start heating the canner with the lid on.
- Prepare the syrup by dissolving honey (or sugar) in water in a stainless pot, over medium heat. Cover and simmer the syrup until the pears are ready.1⅔ cups Honey, 4 cups Water
- Slice, peel, and core ripe pears. Don't use blemished or mushy pears. Work in small batches to prevent browning, or submerge the pear slices in diluted lemon juice.6-9 pounds Pears, ¼ cup Lemon Juice, 4 cups Water
- Add pear slices to warm syrup over medium-low heat for 5 minutes.
- Place the funnel on the jar, and ladel hot pears into jars (hotpack), top with syrup leaving ½" of headspace. Use a canning de-bubbler or knife to remove any air bubbles. Clean the brim and place the lids on, and place the rings on fingertip tight (pretend you are tightening a lid for a 3 year old to open).
- Process the pears for 20 minutes in 1/2 pint and pint jars, 25 minutes for quart jars in a boiling water bath canner. (Use the rack, and be sure that the boiling water covers the jars.) Adjust processing time according to altitude.
- After the canned pears have processed for the appropriate amount of time, remove the jars with canning tongs, and place them on a towel on the counter to let them cool.
- The next day, you can remove the rings. Check the seals by lifting the jar by just the lid. If the seal holds, it is good for storage. Store at room temperature for up to 18 months without the rings, and do not set anything on top of the lid (this can affect the seal).
Canned Pears Spices and Substitutes
- Canned pears with sugar: You can easily substitute sugar for honey in this recipe. I avoid sugar as much as possible because of the chemicals applied to sugar while processing. Plus, honey has more health benefits, so I try to use honey instead of sugar as much as possible.
- Cinnamon Pears: Cut cinnamon sticks to 1/2 inch, and add one to each canning jar. Or you could add 1 Tablespoon of ground cinnamon to the syrup (per 1x batch).
- Pears with Cloves: Add 3-5 whole cloves per canning jar.
- Vanilla Pears: Add 2 teaspoons of vanilla to the syrup mixture.
- Ginger and Cinnamon Pears: Add 1 Tablespoon of ground cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger to they syrup.
- Nutmeg Pears: Add 1 Tablespoons of nutmeg to the syrup.
- Autumn Spice Canned Pears: Add 1 additional cup of honey, 1.5 Tablespoons of cinnamon, 1.5 Tablespoons of molasses, 1.5 teaspoons of cardamom, 3/4 teaspoon of ground ginger, 3/4 teaspoon of allspice, and 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg to the syrup mix (for the 1x batch of 12 half-pints).
Other Pear Recipes:
If your pear tree is full of pears, check out our other pear recipes: Pear Moonshine, Pear Muffins, Pear Cookies, and Canned Pears.
Other Canning Recipes:
If you’re interested in preserving your garden harvest, check out our other canning recipes: Strawberry Jam, Rhubarb Jam, and Canned Pears.
Canned Pears FAQs
- You can process pears in water without sugar or honey, especially if your pears are extremely sweet.
- You do not have to peel the pears before canning, just be sure to use your own homegrown pears to avoid the pesticides applied to the skin of store-bought pears.
- You can raw pack pears, especially if you choose to process in water (saving you time and a step). Your pears may shrink and float when done, but will taste just fine.
- Most varieties of pears are safe to water bath canned, however, Asian pear varieties are low in acid and should have citric acid or lemon juice added for botulism safety. You could avoid adding acid to Asian pears by pressure canning for 15 minutes.