If you like the idea of home-canned fruit sitting on your shelves in the middle of winter, then you’re going to love this easy recipe to preserve pears!
To can pears you simply have to prep the fruit and the canning supplies, make the syrup, can the fruit, and process the jars.
It really is as easy as it sounds! What’s better, the whole process doesn’t take long. If you follow the detailed tips and step-by-step instructions we’re going to provide, you’ll be able to enjoy fresh pears all year long!
Just like when canning apricots, selecting the best pears for canning means choosing the ones that will hold up better to the canning process because they’re less likely to turn mushy. So you’ll want to pick mature, slightly under-ripe, and firm pears.
We like to can Bartlet pears because of their flavor, but some people find them too grainy. If you’re one of them, you can go for d’Anjous, Bosc, or Comice. The truth is any variety of pear will do as long as they’re at the proper ripeness.
The only exception is Asian pears, also known as apple pears. While they can be canned as well, they require the addition of an acid, such as lemon juice, to make them safe for canning. In most cases, you should add 1 tablespoon to each pint jar or 2 tablespoons to each quart jar. But we’re not going to focus on those in this article because you’d need to use a pressure canner with them.
Pears are one of the rare fruits that are picked green from the tree, which means they need to be ripened before canning them.
You can lay them out in a cool area and wait for a few days until they just start to turn yellow. Just try to place them in such a way that they’re not touching each other.
For the ingredients, you’re obviously going to need pears. Pressure canners can typically take a load of either 9 pint-sized (500 ml) jars or 7 quart (1 L) jars. For a canner load of pint jars, you’ll need about 11 pounds (5 kg) of pears, and for a load of quart jars, you should get approximately 17 ½ pounds (8 kg) of pears.
To prep the pears you’re going to need lemon juice, and to make the syrup, sugar, honey, or juice. For 11 pounds of pears, you should need about 6 ½ cups (1.5 L) of water and ¾ cups (96 g) of sugar.
When it comes to the supplies required for canning pears, you should be able to find most of them in your kitchen:
Sugar is typically used in the canning process as a preserving agent, but in canning, pears are just a flavoring element. So if you don’t want additional added sugar with your pears, like honey, fruit juice, or sugar, you can omit it because it’s not a safety consideration.
However, you do need to cook the pears in syrup before canning them, but don’t worry, we’ll be using a light syrup in this “recipe”. The syrup will also help the fruit retain its color for long-term storage.
Preparing the pears the right way is key to retain their yellowish color as much as possible, and prevent them from browning. This is what you should do:
Once the pears are submerged in the solution of water and lemon juice, it’s time to move onto making the syrup for canning.
If you’ve never used a pressure canner before, we highly suggest that you read the manufacturer’s instructions first to get familiar with this piece of equipment.
To prepare your canning supplies, you should:
Lay a clean kitchen towel on the counter and line up your freshly washed jars and lids on top of it when you’re ready to start canning your pears, so they don’t crack from the difference in temperature.
A quick tip before we move onto the next stage of the canning process: to prevent the jars from cooling down, take them out of the warm water as you need them, one at a time.
Depending on how sweet you want your pears to be, you might want to use a thin or medium syrup when canning them. For a thin syrup, you should need ½ cup syrup (113 ml) for every 2 cups of fruit (440g).
This canning method is called hot pack. Even though it’s possible to use the quicker raw pack method, we prefer hot packing not only because the pears taste better, but also because it allows us to fit more fruit in each jar.
Another benefit of hot packing is that it eliminates fruit float almost completely. Fruit float occurs when the fruit floats to the top of the jar and leaves all the syrup on the bottom. This is a very common phenomenon, and it also happens when you’re canning whole tomatoes, for example.
As long as the jars are properly sealed, there’s nothing wrong with fruit float because it’s not dangerous. However, you’ll notice a difference in the flavor.
Your pears and the syrup are ready, and your jars are sterilized. We’ve finally reached the final stages of the pear canning process: jarring!
These are the steps you should follow to transfer the pears to the canning jars:
We’re almost done!
To process the jars of pears, there are only five steps to follow:
And that’s it! All that’s left is for you to date, label, and store your canned spoils in a cool, dark place. Canned pears should last a very long time, but they retain their fresh flavor during the first 12 months.
Even if you’re a beginner, learning how to can pears is not hard. We’ve broken down the process into five simple stages to make it easier to follow.
Hopefully, with the clear and straightforward instructions and useful tips we’ve given you, you’ll be able to achieve the most delicious results and enjoy fresh pears whenever you want. You can also check our complete guide on canning food here.
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