Mmmm. Wow. Lips smacking. Eyes closing in bliss. Oh my goodness. I can’t pull myself away from these things!
Just one more bite…
Okay. Wow. These pear preserves are like warm bits of sweet heaven melting in my mouth.
Somebody pry this jar away from me… please!
Okay, I’m good. No really, I can do this.
Angie, girl, I could kiss your feet for sharing this recipe with me!
I’ve never really considered myself a pear loving kinda girl. But when my mother-in-law gave me free range of her loaded pear tree, I didn’t waste the opportunity to gather as many as I could. Up until today, I hadn’t canned pears yet, and I’d never tasted pear preserves… *drool*… so I was anxious to try my hand at it.
Strawberry or raspberry preserves are great, but many people overlook pears as another great choice for canning fresh fruit. Pears contain tons of antioxidants and zero fat, and are also rich in essential vitamins like A, B1, B2, C, niacin, and minerals such as potassium, iron, calcium, and phosphorus.
These fruits make a tasty jam because of their sweet, tangy flavor. Best yet, they are much healthier for you than their store-bought counterparts. They contain less sugar and no artificial chemicals. Pears are at their best when they drop from the trees in late summer and fall, and are a tasty addition to any breakfast (or lunch, or dinner!) table.
Angie, at Home Grown, was so sweet to point me towards a post she wrote a while back with a recipe for canning pear preserves. Actually, she also tells exactly how to use every single part of the pear (peels and core included) to make a delicious pear glaze for meats, and pear jelly as well. Check it out.
Mouthwatering Pear Preserves
- Pears (still green; preferably Kieffers)
- Sugar- lots of it!
As for quantities, it doesn’t matter how many pears you have for this recipe, just add 2 cups of sugar for every 2 quarts of pears (approx. 14 small/med. pears). Though in my opinion, if you don’t have at least 6 quarts of pears, it’s probably not worth the trouble to can them, you won’t get more than three pints of preserves.
*I processed 6 quarts of pears and ended up with 3 pints of preserves, and 3 pints of the glaze.How much glaze you get depends on the thickness you allow the syrup to be reduced to.
First thing you do, as always, is wash the fruit. As always when you are preserving fruit, make sure you separate out any bruised, overripe, or underripe fruits. The quality of your canned goods is only as good as the quality of the ingredients you use to prepare them.
Pears will generally keep for about three to five months in cool storage. The best pears for storing, in general, including Bosch, Anjou, and Winter Nelis, but remember that this rule of thumb only applies to healthy, unblemished fruit. The firmer the pear is, the better it will hold up.
Peel the pears using a potato peeler, then cut them in half and use a melon scooper or knife to remove the stem, the tough middle and the seeds.
Cut off any bad places (bruises, etc). Then slice the pears pretty thinly. The thinner you can slice your pears, the better, because this will help them cook more evenly. You can also fit more into a jar, as they are easier to squish together. You want even heat distribution to make sure your preserves cook and store properly.
I used a 2 quart canning jar to measure my pear slices. Every time I filled it up, I emptied its contents into a large stainless steel pot and added 2 cups of sugar.
When all of the pears are prepared and the sugar added, put a lid over the pot and let them sit until the next day, about 12 hours. The sugar will melt, and the pears will be floating in the juices.
Heat the pot over a low setting, and allow the pears to cook in the covered pot until they are extremely tender, and almost translucent. Be prepared to let them simmer for a few hours, stirring occasionally.
When the pears are done, remove them from the liquid and set them in a bowl for later. Continue cooking the syrup over medium heat, until it thickens a bit (reduced by about half of what it was). Return the pears to the syrup mixture and bring them to a gentle boil.
I canned my pears and preserves using a simple recipe with no additional spices. That being said, you can also add ingredients like ginger, cinnamon, or nutmeg to change up the texture and flavors of your spices. If you’re feeling adventurous or simply want a greater variety of options in your canned goods, consider adding a few different types of spice blends to give you plenty of choices to work with as you cook and enjoy your bounty.
Using a slotted spoon, fill hot, clean jars with the pears making sure to pack them tight. Next, pour the syrup over the pears leaving 1/2 in. head space. Use a butter knife or something to slide down the insides of the jars to help release any air bubbles that may be trapped.
Add a clean, sterilized lid secured with a ring, and process pints and quarts for 25 minutes in a water bath canner.
When all of my jars were filled, and in the canner, I noticed some bits of pears left in the large pot I’d simmered them in. Curious as to what they would taste like, I used a spoon to collect a piece to sample.
I desperately began scraped the remaining bits of candied pear from the pot, and melted in pure ecstasy with every bite.
I tried my best to allow them to cool once they were out of the canner, but it wasn’t long before I’d popped a lid off and was delving in. Mmmmm…..
You guys, this is the one. If you get your hands on any pears, forget any other canning recipes you may have in mind. Nothing can compare.
Now, if you’re feeling brave, you can try to just store the whole pear instead of canning it. This is a good option if you just don’t have the time to commit to the canning process right now (I think many of us get inundated with canning to-do lists during this season!). Pears store much better than other types of fruit, like berries, and can be kept in a cold area, as I mentioned, for up to five months.
However, you need to be careful about the temperatures at which you store your pears. Temperatures that are colder than 30 degrees Fahrenheit will damage the pears, but warmer temperatures can cause them to ripen prematurely. If you have a spare refrigerator or walk-in cooler, this is ideal for storing your fruit. However, the problem with refrigerators is that an airtight seal can prevent ethylene gases from escape, causing premature spoilage.
If you don’t want to can or store your pears whole, you can also dehydrate them or even freeze them. These are other good options but again, take up space in the cupboard or freezer.
Think about how you intend to use your pears (or yummy pear preserves!) before making the decision on how you want to store them. There are so many delicious uses for this concoction, I can’t imagine that you wouldn’t want dozens of jars kicking around! But if you’re having trouble finding inspiration, here are a few ideas.
As I have already (clearly) implied, pear preserves taste delicious by themselves. I enjoy a scoop or spoonful of them as an after-dinner treat! They also make a tasty butter when spread on freshly baked bread or toast. If you’re feeling craftier, you can bake an easy pear tart or similar type of pastry to serve to the family. You won’t even feel guilty about sneaking one of these for breakfast!
Finally, many people I know use pear preserves as a glaze for meat. You can use this on just about any cut or variety of meat, but I think the best meat to use pear glaze on is ham. It gives the ham a sweet, tangy flavor to offset its fatty texture, and is absolutely mouthwatering.
What other uses do you have for pear preserves? Share your recipes and suggestions below!