If you're looking for a straightforward, easy canning recipe, then this recipe for how to can pears is the one for you! A simple syrup is poured over sliced pears, and into the water bath they go. A few minutes later, the pears are ready to go for months to come!
Have a water bath canner ready with hot water. Also, have sterilized jars with lids and rings at hand.
Cut the pears into quarters, remove the core, and peel. Slice quarters in thirds if working with large pears or into half in working with small pears. Place prepared pears in water with 1 tbsp of lemon juice to keep them from turning brown.
Prepare the syrup by combining the water and sugar in a saucepan. Whisk and bring to a simmer on the stove. Simmer until all the sugar is dissolved. Once the sugar is dissolved, reduce the heat and keep the syrup warm until the jars are ready.
Once all the pears and the syrup are ready, pack the pears into the four quart jars. Pack the pears, leaving ½-inch headspace at the top of the jar. Cover the pears with the hot sugar syrup. Fill the jars and cover the pears with the syrup retaining the ½-inch of headspace at the top of the jars. Wipe the rims clean and fit with lids and rings. Place in a boiling water bath canner, ensuring the jars are covered with water. Bring to a boil and process for 30 minutes.
Once the water bath time is completed, remove the jars from the water and allow them to cool at room temperature for 24 hours. Once cooled, ensure they are sealed and store them in the pantry for 12 to 18 months.
Food safety tip: This recipe may not be approved by the USDA. To prevent the risk of botulism, always check with the USDA Canning Guide.
When preparing the pears, always leave a few pears unpeeled and sliced. This way, if your pears take most of the room in the jars, you won’t be left with fruit that will turn brown quickly. Also, if you have too little fruit, you can quickly peel and slice one or two final pears to fill the last jar. It’s all about avoiding food waste.
When choosing jars in which to can, either a regular-mouth or wide-mouth jar will work. That said, a regular-mouth jar will help to contain the pears in the juice because of the shoulder that’s built into the jar’s more narrow opening. On the other hand, the wide-mouth jars will allow those with larger hands to place the pears in the jar more accurately, but the pears will tend to float up after they’re canned.
When filling the jars with the pears, if they are not laying correctly, simply bang the bottom of the glass jar against the palm of your hand. This provides a slight adjustment that will jostle the pears into place. I use this same technique when canning green beans, and it’s a winner!
Do not over-pack the jars with pears. You do not want to create pockets where the sugar syrup cannot reach, which could create a breeding ground for bacteria. If there are any air pockets, use a knife to ensure the syrup breaks into the pocket.