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Canning Pears {Preserved Pears}

An easy step by step tutorial on Canning Pears. This easy recipe for preserved pears is perfect for newbies and experienced canners alike. Instructions include low-sugar and no-sugar options. This is the only canned pears recipe you’ll ever need to learn how to can pears at home.

Three jars of canned pears on a wooden board with fresh pears and cinnamon sticks

Of all the things I can, pears get eaten the fastest. There are a thousand reasons to can (and about a hundred not to), but nothing is more rewarding after all that hard work than opening a jar of “fresh” pears on a cold and snowy January evening.

If you love the idea of home-canned fruit sitting on your shelves, check out these posts on canning peaches, canning applesauce, and canning apple pie filling.

What Is The Best Pear For Canning?

It is generally agreed that Bartlett pears are the best for canning. At the end of the day, you can use any kind of ripe pear.

Asian pears are safe to can but require a separate process to acidify them prior to canning. This post from the National Center for Home Food Preservation has more details.

Can You Can Pears Without Sugar?

You sure can! Sure “can”. Get it? 🙂

Soooo much sugar is traditionally recommended for preserving pears and that is all the nopes from me.

That being said, sugar is used in canning for flavor, preservation, and color. Sweet food generally tastes better, keeps longer, and the color of the food stays bright and fresh.

Pears have enough natural sugar and don’t need any sweetener added while canning to be considered safe. Your final product may look a bit different and have a shorter shelf life.

Personally, I walk the line between no sugar and low sugar for canning peaches and preserved pears. 

Please use your best judgment when altering any official canning recipe. Plan to eat the finished product within 9-12 months.

Can You Can Pears in Honey or Fruit Juice?

Preserved Pears WITH HONEY

Please note, if you’re using raw honey, any of the beneficial properties will be killed during the heating process. It’s more affordable to use regular honey for canning.

Preserved Pears WITH JUICE

You’ll need 48 oz of juice per 4 pounds of pears using a hot pack process.

Using frozen concentrated apple or white grape juice is a great and easy substitution for refined sugar syrup. Use one can of thawed concentrate mixed with three cans of water.

Canning Pears Supplies

Check out this in-depth post for a complete list of canning supplies.

  • Pears! You’ll need about 17 lbs per 7 quarts.
  • At least two large bowls. You can never have enough bowls when canning.
  • Large pot of water for blanching the pears and a medium pot for syrup
  • Canner: simple water bath canner, or even a huge stockpot with a rack in the bottom.
  • Canning tongs/jar lifter
  • Jars – quarts or pints.
  • Lids and rings
  • Wide mouth funnel
  • Ice
  • Bottled lemon juice or citric acid
  • Vegetable peeler
  • Sugar, honey, or juice
  • Paring knife
  • Chef’s knife
  • Ladle
  • Cutting board
  • Metal spoon
  • Butter knife or plastic chopstick
  • Comfortable shoes. Don’t do this barefoot. Your back will hate you.
  • Clean washcloths and at least one thick clean towel.

How Long Do You Process Pears in a Water Bath?

Pears in pint canning jars are processed for 20 minutes, and 25 minutes for quarts.

RAW PACK FOR CANNING PEars

Raw packing pears simply means placing the peeled pears in the jars without precooking them, filling the jars with syrup and processing them in the canner.

If you are preserving pears without additional added sugar (sugar, honey, fruit juice), you must hot pack them.

Raw packing pears is much faster than then a hot pack process, but there are some drawbacks. No matter how well you pack the jars, the density of the pears will change during their time in the canner.

This often leads to something called “fruit float” in which the fruit will float to the top of the jar, leaving all syrup on the bottom. You’ll find this when you’re canning whole tomatoes as well. There is nothing wrong with fruit float as long as your jars are still sealed.

As it is faster, I tend to do most of my canned pears and peaches raw packed.

HOT PACK FOR CANNING PEArS

Hot packing pears involves cooking them briefly in hot syrup before packing the fruit into jars for canning. You’ll want to boil them in the canning syrup for about 5 minutes and then add them to your jars, ladling the hot syrup over the top.

The benefits of hot packing are that you typically can fit more fruit per jar, and the near elimination of fruit float.

How to Can Pears Step by Step

*Printable and detailed recipe card is available at the bottom of this post.

CANNING PREP

Prepare your water bath canner by filling it with water. You just need to have enough water to cover the jars by 2 inches once the water is boiling.

Set the canner on the stove. Turn the burner to high. Once it reaches a boil, reduce it to simmer. You want to keep the water hot so that everything is ready when the pears are.

Wash and sanitize your jars. You’ll want to keep them warm to avoid having them crack when placed in the canner. You can fill them with hot water, or place them on a tray in the oven at 200 degrees F.

Wash your lids and set aside in clean place. You no longer need to simmer lids in water to keep them sterile. Woot!

Prep the Pears

Set up your work area. I don’t mind preserving pears as much as some things because it allows me to sit down for most of the work.

For the work area, I use a big cutting board, a chef’s knife, a paring knife, a vegetable peeler, a big bowl of cold water with 1/3 cup of bottled lemon juice mixed in, a refuse bowl, a clean towel (for wiping hands), and a bowl full of the fruit.

A cutting board with bowls, knife, pears, and a vegetable peeler

Cut the tops and bottoms (we call them pear butts) off of the fruit. I like to do about 12 at a time so that I’m not switching back and forth between using knives and peelers with slimy pear hands. Dibs on “slimy pear hands” for a band name.

Using a vegetable peeler, peel off all the pear skins. I start from the top and make a straight peel downward. It takes a few times to learn how to thoroughly skin a pear, but you’ll get there by at least the third or fourth pound!

After that, cut the pear in half from the top to the bottom. Take the paring knife (they do make special pear corers, but a paring knife works great for me), and make a cut from the stem to the bottom on one side.

Repeat on the other side, then jiggle the core out. Discard the core, and put the pear in the water with the lemon juice.

Three photos showing the steps for peeling pears for canning pears

When you have a bowl that is getting full of ready pears, start your syrup. In a large pot, mix 1 cup of sugar per 6 cups of water and heat over medium.

A bowl of pears and lemon juice being prepped for canning

Back to the pears! Finish up the pears that still need skinning.

(If you’re doing a hot pack) Once the syrup is boiling, add the pears one layer at a time (a canning term that means don’t totally fill the pot) and heat for 5 minutes.

Using a fork, grab the now cooked pears one at a time, and put them cavity-side down in the canning jar. After a while, you learn how to maximize your space when filling the jars. It’s like a fruity version of Tetris.

two photos showing the cooking step for canning pears

At this point, return your water in the canner back to a rolling boil.

Using a canning funnel and a ladle, slowly pour the hot syrup into the jars until the pears are completely covered. Pro tip: add the syrup very slowly as it needs to works its way through the jar to find the spaces among the fruit to fill.

Leave 1/2 inch of headspace. Headspace is defined as the space between the top of the food and the top of the jar. Remove the bubbles from the jar (I use a chopstick).

Two photos showing filling jars for canning pears

Use a wet clean rag and wipe the rim of the jars to make sure it is free of any food or syrup.

Place a clean lid on the jar and tighten the ring to fingertip tight (tight enough that it won’t come off, but not so tight that a normal person couldn’t budge it).

How to prep jars for canning pears

Once the water in the canner is boiling again, gently place your jars in one at a time using tongs (I prefer canning tongs, but you can use any rubber-tipped tongs).

Once your jars (typically 6-7 quart jars can fit in the canner) are completely covered with the boiling water, put the lid on and boil for 20 minutes (pints) or 25 minutes (quarts). For canning at different altitudes, check out this guide for adjusted processing times.

Once your jars are starting to process, fill up your next 6-7 jars with hot pears, syrup, etc.

Once the pears have processed for the appropriate amount of time, remove the canner from the burner, carefully take off the lid, and allow it to sit for 5-10 minutes. Pro tip: I tend to just slide it into the middle of my stove, as it weighs a ton.

Carefully remove the jars, and place them on a thick towel in a place where they can be undisturbed for 12 hours. The lids should start to pop within 20-30 minutes of being removed from the water.

After a few hours, to check for sealing, gently press down in the middle of the lid. If the lid has no give, it’s sealed. If you can press the lid in and it pops a bit, your jars are not sealed. You can reprocess them or store them in the fridge or freezer (only freeze jars that are wide mouth).

A bowl of canned pears with fresh pears and cinnamon stickson a white board

PRO TIPS/RECIPE NOTES

  • You’ll need about 18 pounds of pears to fill seven quarts, 11 pounds to fill nine pints. A bushel of pears weighs 50 pounds and will yield 18-25 quarts.
  • Feel free to add some whole spices to the jars just prior to canning. Add 1 cinnamon stick, 1/2 tsp whole allspice, and 1/4 tsp whole cloves to each jar.
  • Store in a cool dry place for up to 12 months.

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Three jars of canned pears on a wooden board with fresh pears and cinnamon sticks
Print
5 from 8 votes
Canning Pears {Preserved Pears}
Prep Time
1 hr
Cook Time
25 mins
Total Time
1 hr 25 mins
 

An easy step by step tutorial for beginners on Canning Pears. This is the only canned pears recipe you’ll ever need to learn how to can pears at home.

Course: Canning
Cuisine: American
Keyword: canning pears, homecanned pears, how to can pears
Servings: 7 quarts
Calories: 212 kcal
Ingredients
  • 18 pounds pears
  • 1/3 cup bottled lemon juice
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 6 cups water
Instructions
Canning Prep
  1. Prepare your water bath canner by filling it with water. You just need to have enough water to cover the jars by 2 inches once the water is boiling.

  2. Set the canner on the stove. Turn the burner to high. Once it reaches a boil, reduce it to simmer. You want to keep the water hot so that everything is ready when the pears are.

  3. Wash and sanitize your jars. You’ll want to keep them warm to avoid having them crack when placed in the canner. You can fill them with hot water, or place them on a tray in the oven at 200 degrees F.

  4. Wash your lids and set aside in clean place. You no longer need to simmer lids in water to keep them sterile.

Prep the Pears
  1. Cut the tops and bottoms off of the fruit.

  2. Using a vegetable peeler, peel off all the pear skins.

  3. After that, cut the pear in half from the top to the bottom. Take the paring knife and make a cut from the stem to the bottom on one side. Repeat on the other side, then jiggle the core out. Discard the core, and put the pear in the water with the lemon juice.

  4. When you have a bowl that is getting full of ready pears, start your syrup. In a large pot, mix 1 cup of sugar per 6 cups of water and heat over medium.

  5. Once the syrup is boiling, add the pears one layer at a time (a canning term that means don’t totally fill the pot) and heat for 5 minutes.

  6. Using a fork, grab the now softened pears one at a time, and put them cavity down in the canning jar.

  7. Using a canning funnel and a ladle, slowly pour the hot syrup into the jars until the pears are completely covered. Leave 1/2 inch of headspace. Headspace is defined as the space between the top of the food and the top of the jar.

  8. Remove the bubbles from the jar (I use a chopstick).

  9. Use a wet clean rag and wipe the rim of the jars to make sure it is free of any food or syrup.

  10. Place a clean lid on the jar and tighten the ring to fingertip tight.

Canning the Pears
  1. Once the water is boiling, gently place your jars in one at a time using canning tongs.

  2. Once your jars (typically 6-7 quart jars can fit in the canner) are completely covered with the boiling water, put the lid on and boil for 20 minutes (pints) or 25 minutes (quarts).

  3. Once your jars are starting to process, fill up your next 6-7 jars with hot pears, syrup, etc.

  4. When the time is up, turn off the stove and let the jars sit for 5 minutes in the canner and then lift them out with canning tongs. Place on a towel where they can sit undisturbed for 12 hours.

  5. Pretty soon you’ll start hearing some “pops and pings” which are the sounds of the jars sealing. Yay!! You did it!

  6. After a few hours, to check for sealing, gently press down in the middle of the lid. If the lid has no give, it’s sealed. If you can press the lid in and it pops a bit, your jars are not sealed. You can reprocess them or store them in the fridge or freezer (only freeze jars that are wide mouth).

Recipe Notes

You’ll need about 20 pounds of pears to fill seven quarts.

 

No matter how well you pack those jars, your pears may/will float to the top of the jars after canning. This is called fruit float. This is totally safe as long as the jars are sealed.

 

Feel free to add some whole spices to the jars just prior to canning. Add 1 cinnamon stick, 1/2 tsp whole allspice, and 1/4 tsp whole cloves to each jar.

 

Store in a cool dry place for up to 12 months.

Nutrition Facts
Canning Pears {Preserved Pears}
Amount Per Serving (1 cup)
Calories 212 Calories from Fat 9
% Daily Value*
Fat 1g2%
Saturated Fat 0g0%
Cholesterol 0mg0%
Sodium 6mg0%
Potassium 378mg11%
Carbohydrates 56g19%
Fiber 40g167%
Sugar 30g33%
Protein 1g2%
Vitamin A 100IU2%
Vitamin C 14mg17%
Calcium 30mg3%
Iron 0.5mg3%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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19 comments on “Canning Pears {Preserved Pears}”

  1. Wonderful instructions and photographs

  2. Thank you for these EASY to follow canning instructions. I canned for years but after a traumatic brain injury, most of my memories were wiped out so doing something with as many steps as canning was not something I wanted to take on. Then, a neighbor offered us boxes of Asian pears and apples and I got inspired to research canning.

    With your instructions and the assistance of my dear husband, we canned a number of batches of the pears. During the steps, many of the lost memories flooded back. You my dear lady gave me a huge gift and I thank you.
    God Bless and keep sharing your talents.

    • JoAnne, it took me a few minutes to stop crying before I could respond to this comment. Wow, what a gift for you to share your experience with me and trust me with helping you through this process.

      Your kind words made my week and will be there to cheer me up in the future when I’m having a down day. Please think of me thinking of YOU anytime you open a jar!

  3. Thank you for your inspiration for this recipe. I received 10 gallons of freshly picked pears from a friend shortly after reading this post. I canned some in wide mouth 8oz jars for my husband to eat at work. A perfect healthy (free) snack!

  4. You mentioned that you could also use juice, would 1 cup of concentrate plus 3 cups of water be comparable to the 1 cup of sugar and several cups of water listed in your ingredient list?

    • I think in terms of flavor, yes.

      I just looked up the nutrition of concentrated juice and it looks like (with water added) each serving of juice is 25g of sugar. Each serving is 1.5 fl oz. Compared to the pears where a serving is 1 cup and 30g of sugar.

  5. Pingback: Canning Recipes to Preserve the Summertime Garden Abundance

  6. You are a gem! First time canning and it was a pleasure to follow your instructions. Everything worked out perfectly!

  7. Have you ever canned apple pie filling? Any step by steps on that? 🙂

  8. I canned mine Saturday in a honey vanilla syrup – yummy. 7 quarts – I used bartlett pears from Kroger since I don’t have a farm near by.

  9. They’re yummy w cottage cheese!

  10. I did up only 30lbs this year. But I can my pears in only water. My family has been canning pears (all fruit actually) in just water for years (like 40 years) and we’ve never had an issue. Just pure sunshine deliciousness in a jar! 🙂

  11. I hadn’t considered canning pears before. Right now I’m making apple butter (in a slow cooker) and canning it for gifts. I may need to do pears soon, though.

  12. Sarah, what variety of pears do you can? They look like bartletts. Locally ( I live in PA ), I’ve been told to can boscs as they are a little more firm when ripe.