When someone gives you a bag of freshly picked pears, one thing you can to do is make preserved pears! Canning pears is an easy way to preserve the fruit for later enjoyment when the pears are at their 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 box loads 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.
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.
How to Can Pears
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. Canning pears is an easy way to preserve the fruit for later enjoyment when the pears are at their ripest.
For these canned pears, I'm using a light syrup ratio of a cup of sugar to a quart of water. 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. You could use nutmeg or vanilla as well.
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
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.
Boil water with sugar and spices:
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.
Pack the jars with pears:
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.
If you're canning pears for long term shelf storage (up to a year), place in a water bath for 20 minutes.