Preserved Pears


Preserved Pears! How to can pears in a light simple syrup with star anise, cardamom, and cinnamon. Canning pears is the solution to a generous harvest.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Canning Pears

When someone gives you a bag of freshly picked pears, the thing to do is make preserved pears, right? Canning pears is an easy way to preserve the fruit for later enjoyment when it’s at its ripest.

The benefit of having fruit trees is that when they produce, they really produce. One day you’ll be looking longingly at the tree, the next day you can’t keep up with the boxloads of fruit coming off of it.

So what you do is share!

I’ll give you a big bag of Granny Smiths if you give me a big bag of fuyus. We sent Hank home the other day with some pomegranates and he showed up a few days later with a bag of Bartlett pears from his tree. Still, a bag of fruit is a lot to get through before they spoil. Canning pears isn’t difficult, and a great solution for fruit overload.

Three Jars of Canning Pears

How to Can Pears

So, in the case of Hank’s beautiful pears, I decided to simply can them, in a light sugar syrup, with a few pear-loving spices thrown in for good measure.

For these canned pears, I’m using a light syrup ratio of a cup of sugar to a quart of water. There are several liquid options for how to can pears; you could also use apple juice or white grape juice as your canning liquid. You could even use water, though a lightly sugared solution will help the fruit retain its color for storage longer than a few weeks.

For spices, I used cardamom, star anise, and cinnamon, because I know these spices complement the flavor of the pears. When canning pears, you could use nutmeg or vanilla as well.

Preserved Pears Recipe

  • Prep time: 25 minutes
  • Cook time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: Makes 3 to 4 quarts

If you plan on canning pears for shelf (non-refrigerated storage), sterilize your jars by either placing them in a 200°F oven for 10 minutes or in boiling water for 10 minutes.

Once the jars are filled with pears, you'll want to process in a water bath as well. You'll need a large (12-quart if you are using pint jars, 16-quart if you are using quart jars) stock pot with a rack at the bottom (we use a steaming rack) so that the jars don't touch the bottom of the pan. Fill three-quarters of the way with hot water and put on the stove to bring to a boil. While the water is heating proceed with the recipe.

If you plan to freeze or refrigerate your canned pears you can skip this step.


  • 5-6 pounds Bartlett pears
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 quarts water
  • 2 star anise
  • 4 cardamom pods
  • 1 stick cinnamon

Special equipment:

  • 3 to 4 quart-sized canning jars or 6-8 pint jars


1 Prepare the pears: Peel, core, and quarter the pears. Add them to a bowl of cold water that has been acidified with lemon juice or citric acid (can use the contents of a vitamin C capsule), to help prevent discoloration of the pears from oxidation.

2 In a large (5 or 6 quart) pot, add the sugar, water, and spices. Bring to a boil. Transfer the pear quarters from their lemon solution to the boiling sugar water. Let come to a boil again, cook for 5 minutes.

3 Pack your canning jars with the pears. Pour the remaining syrup over the pears to cover, leaving 1/2-inch of headroom from the tops of the jars. Wipe the rims with a paper towel. Put on the lids.

4 If you're canning pears for long term shelf storage (up to a year), place in a water bath for 20 minutes.

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Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

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38 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Mountain Mama

    Absolutely delicious, and so easy. We love your spice combination, which creates a heavenly aroma without overpowering the pears.
    *I had leftover syrup, and a large bowl full of peels and cores, and it seemed such a shame not to use. So I made the most heavenly pear butter from these leftovers. It yielded a small volume, but so delicious. (Of course you can also process and can leftover syrup to use next time, if you want ) Just cook the peels/cores in the syrup (I removed spices) unil they are very soft. Put through food mill. Return milled pear sauce and liquid to pot (it will be quite runny) and simmer-cook until thick.


  2. Deborah Scrimpsher

    I did it with just sugar and water looks good so far I did not peel them either

  3. Gisela

    Very good, but I would like a little more spice. That is just me. Will double the spice next time. Tomorrow will be the next time,thank you for sharing the recipe.


  4. Angela McCoy

    Thanks for sharing your recipe. I added a little more sugar and spiced the pears with cinnamon and vanilla. The family loves them! Thanks again


  5. Mandy Houston

    If I use apple juice as the liquid, do I use some sugar syrup with that or just the apple juice

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