by Tammy Taylor
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A sweet friend invited me to come pick some of the pears from her huge pear tree recently and of course I jumped on that offer! RancherMan & I showed up at her house armed with a feed sack that typically holds 50 lbs of feed, and we proceeded to fill that bad boy up with pears! I promised to bring back some canned pears for her but she said she’s had all the pears she wishes to have this year. LOL.
So we thanked her profusely, waved goodbye and came home to begin processing all those pears. Of course the first thing I canned was a couple of batches of pear halves in light syrup – I love to eat these right out of the jar cold from the fridge. But how else can I preserve these delicious pears? RancherMan loves the pear preserves typically made by a close friend so I called her up & asked if she would share her recipe. Being the sweetheart that she is, she did! And she said I was welcome to share the recipe with you. (Thanks Virginia)
Having so many pears to go through I was very thankful that I had this * apple peeler to get me through it quickly. I don’t know what I would do if I had to peel that many pears with a paring knife! I found that I could peel, core & slice a pear in 5-7 seconds! WOO-HOO, watch me go!
1st Attempt – Too Juicy
The first double-batch of preserves I made I followed the recipe exactly, but it seemed to have too much syrup and I had to boil the pears over 2.5 hours to get it to the consistency I wanted. I asked Virginia about this & she said it appeared my pears were very ripe so I should try it again with the same amount of sugar but less water & slightly more pears per batch.
So for my second double-batch I peeled cored & chopped about 10 cups of pears instead of 8 and dropped them into a solution of Fruit-Fresh & water to keep them from turning dark. When I had the pears prepared I pulled out my big stock pot & stirred 3 cups sugar into only 1 cup water this time – it did seem to help the quantity of syrup.
When the syrup had boiled about 10 minutes I added my prepared pears and a few slices of lemon & I only boiled the pears this time for about 1 hr 15 minutes. When they were as thick as I like I stirred in a tablespoon of vanilla & ladled the preserves into hot washed & sterilized jars, wiped the rim and placed the two-part canning lid in place. These jars can now be sealed in a hot-water bath for 10 minutes.
The resulting pear preserves this second time were a lighter color, maybe because I didn’t simmer the pears as long, although I really love the golden color of the first batch too. Both were absolutely delicious! Virginia warned me not to try to make more than a double batch at a time so I heeded her advice and made two double batches. The double-batches I made yielded 6 half-pints the first time and 3 pints the second time.
Ms. Virginia’s Recipe
So without further adieu here’s the single-batch recipe & Virginia’s instructions
(I have included a few of my own notes below in italics)
SINGLE-BATCH PEAR PRESERVES
- 1 quart (4 cups) peeled, cored & cubed pears
- 1.5 cups sugar
- 1 cup water (I only used 1/2 cup for my very ripe pears)
- 1 lemon, sliced 1/4″ with seeds removed
- (Optional: I added 1 T vanilla after pears were cooked but before pouring into jars)
DIRECTIONS: Peel, core, and cut up the pears. You will need 4 cups of ready to go pears for each recipe.
Make a syrup of 1 1/2 cups of sugar and 1 cup of water. (less water for very ripe pears) Boil about 10 minutes to dissolve the sugar and start the process of creating syrup, then cool slightly.
Slice lemon into approximately 1/4″ slices and remove the seeds. Add lemon slices to the syrup when you start the process with the pears, three or four slices to each quart of pears.
Add prepared pears & lemon slices and bring to a slow boil. Once boiling, boil rapidly until the pears are translucent and tender. This generally takes about 30 minutes to one hour. (note, my boiling process took longer. Watch for the pears to turn translucent and for the syrup to thicken to your liking)
Watch the boiling pears closely as they can burn very badly quickly. When they are done, pack the pears in hot, sterile jars and allow them to seal. Don’t forget to wipe the tops so that the seal can happen. Most of the new canning books call for you to hot water process the jars. About 10 minutes in a SIMMERING processor is plenty. Get it too hot and the syrup begins to boil and escape from the jars.
Note from Ms. V: This recipe comes from my mother’s Kerr canning book circa 1938. It is a slow process but so worth it.
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Thanks Virginia – you’re the BEST!
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