This easy recipe for canning pears lets you enjoy the sweet taste of pears all year long. In just a little over an hour, turn fresh pears into beautiful jars filled with sweet, syrupy fruit.
See below the recipe for notes on hot packing and adjusting the syrup sweetness.
Remember, if you ever get stuck, free help is a phone call away at your local cooperative extension office. Find yours here.
- 4 quart jars or 8 pint jars
- New canning lids and rings rings can be reused
- Large pot with rack
- Canning Accessories funnel, jar lifter, magnetic lid lifter
- 10-12 pounds ripe pears any variety
For soaking pears after slicing
- 1 gallon water
- ½ cup lemon juice
For the syrup
- 2 cups white sugar
- 8 cups water
- Prep Jars and Lids. Wash jars, lids, and rings in hot, soapy water. Rinse well. Place jars in a large pot of hot water or in the oven while you prep the fruit. The jars do not need to be sterilized, but they need to be hot and clean. Keep everything hot until you're ready to use.
- Prep Pears. Fill a large bowl with water and a bit of lemon juice to prevent browning. Wash pears well. Peel, core, and slice pears into halves or quarters. Place cut pears into the bowl with lemon water to keep them from browning while you work.
- Make Syrup. In a large pot, mix 1 cup of sugar with 4 cups of water. Bring to a boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved.
- Pack Jars. Drain pears from the lemon water. Use a jar lifter to take a jar out of the hot water. Place on a towel. Use a canning funnel and ladle to pack pears into jars. Pour the hot syrup over the pears, leaving 1/2-inch space at the top.
- Put on lids. Wipe the rim of the jar with a clean towel. Place a new lid on the jar. Screw on the ring until fingertip-tight.
- Process Jars. Put the filled jars back into the large pot of boiling water, making sure they are covered by at least 1 inch of water. Boil for 25 minutes for quart jars, or 20 minutes for pint jars. Use a jar lifter to remove jars from water. Place on a towel.
- Cool and store. Let jars cool. You may hear a popping sound as lids seal. Once jars are cool, check to make sure lids have sealed by pressing down in the center of each lid. If it doesn't pop back, it's sealed. Store jars in a cool, dark place for up to a year.
This is a classic, simple canning recipe you’ll turn to every year. And once you understand the basics of prepping fruit and canning it in a syrup you’ll see how flexible and useful this technique is.
Important tools and ingredients
Canning requires a few special tools, although there are workarounds. Any large pot will technically work if you don’t have an official canning pot! However, special canning supplies are affordable and very helpful.
Quart or Pint Jars: Essential for storing the canned pears and ensuring they are sealed properly. We prefer to can these in quarts.
Canning Accessories: Including a funnel, jar lifter, and magnetic lid lifter, these tools make the canning process smooth and efficient.
Large Pot with Rack: Necessary for processing the jars, ensuring they are sealed and preserved correctly.
Canning Lids and Rings: New canning lids are crucial for proper sealing; rings can be reused but must be in good condition.
Large Bowl and Lemon Juice: Used to soak the pears and prevent browning, ensuring fresh and vibrant canned pears.
Granite Ware Enamel-on-steel 12-Piece Canner Kit, Includes 21.5 qt. Water Bath Canner with lid, Jar Rack, Blancher, Colander & 5 pc. Canning Tool SetKYOKU 4.5 Inch Paring Knife – Daimyo Series – Fruit Knife with Ergonomic Rosewood Handle, and Mosaic Pin – Japanese 440C Stainless Steel Kitchen Knife with Sheath & CaseDII Heavy Duty Kitchen Towels Collection Long Lasting Quality, Cotton Dish Cloth Set, 13×13
Our favorite canning pears are Bartlett. They’re easy to find and have good flavor. But any pear will work just fine. It’s just personal preference!
The pears must be ripe and fresh, or honestly, what’s the point?! A few bruises here and there are okay (and inevitable), just cut them out as you’re prepping the fruit.
The lemon juice can be fresh or bottled. It doesn’t matter since it’s not affecting the finished product.
Tips for successfully canning Fruit
- Your fruit should be ripe, but not over-ripe. There’s a balance. Soft enough to be sweet and delicious, but still able to hold is shape when cut.
- A chopstick can be a useful tool to remove air bubbles from the jars without risking damage to the jar’s side if you don’t have a special canning tool kit.
- Keep inventory. Track your canned goods. Use older jars first and watch the shelf life to enjoy the pears at their best quality.
- Don’t over-tighten bands. Screw bands fingertip-tight to allow air to escape during processing. You place the lid on the jar and screw the ring on just until you meet resistance, using only your fingertips. It should be tight enough to hold the lid in place, but not so tight that air cannot escape from the jar during the canning process.
Choosing the right syrup
Sugar is the main preservative in this recipe, so you can’t leave it out. However, if you prefer a less-sweet final product, you can reduce it.
I’ve written this recipe for a medium-light syrup, which we love. But you can make your syrup sweeter or lighter!
There is no real benefit, per se, to a heavier syrup, just that it will be sweeter and some people prefer that.
|Syrup Sweeteness||Water||Sugar||Sugar Percentage|
|Very Light||7 cups||1 cup||12.5%|
|Light||6 cups||2 cups||25%|
|Medium||5 cups||3 cups||37.5%|
|Heavy||4 cups||4 cups||50%|
Hot PAck vs raw Pack canned pears
This recipe is raw pack (also known as cold pack), meaning the pears are put in uncooked at room temperature. We always can our fruit this way because it’s easier and you can get through it much faster.
However, hot pack (you heat the fruit and syrup up before canning), does have its advantages.
Hot Pack Method:
- Reduced Floating: It typically results in less floating of the fruit in the jar, as air is driven out and the fruit is shrunk before packing
- Time-Consuming: It is more time-consuming as it involves extra cooking steps.
- Heat Sensitivity: The extra heat can potentially affect the texture and taste of certain delicate fruits.
Cold Pack (or Raw Pack) Method:
- Simplicity: Cold packing is simpler and quicker. The fruit is packed into the jars without pre-heating.
- Texture Preservation: It may preserve the fruit’s original texture and shape better since it’s not exposed to extra heat beforehand.
- Possible Floating: Fruit may float in the jars, leading to uneven distribution and potential spoilage.
In short, if floating fruit doesn’t bother you, just do raw pack!
More Simple Canning recipes
We spend countless hours every summer processing fruits and veggies. Here are some of our favorite ways to preserve the harvest:
- Canned Apple Pie Filling
- Pear Butter
- Apple Butter with Brandy
- Crisp Pickled Jalapenos
- Six More Ways to Preserve Apples
Don’t forget to choose canning recipes you’l actually eat. 😊