I went on a jam creating kick this summer and wanted to continue with the streak of preserving, by making canned fruit. The Hubby’s mom used to preserve bucket loads of fruit at summers end and he prefers canned fruit over jams or jellies. The pears looked amazing this year, so when it came time to chose between peaches and pears, pears easily won out. With a bit of spice added to the syrup, canned pears are the way to go. They look elegant and taste delicious, and are easily served to company with a scoop of ice cream, sprinkled with some toasted walnuts.
There are a few things I found out along the path of canning pears. Firstly, don’t let the pears ripen too much. Just as the first blush of yellow appears is the perfect moment. There are a couple reasons, one being slightly under ripe pears are easier to peel. Secondly, I read that the riper the pear, the more they will float to the top of the jar, versus staying put and soaking up the juice.
When peeling the pears, which was oddly satisfying and so easy, put the bulk of the pear in your palm and the tip of the pear heading towards your fingertips. I found it easier to quickly peel the tip and then smooth strokes to take off the peel around the ball-shaped portion.
Peel all around, even the base. Leave the stem on when cutting in half. I found it helped, when the pear was cut in half, to grab the stem and pull down the pear that the fibrous core strands came out with the stem. I used a metal measuring spoon to scoop out the fibers, the core, and the tiny bottom pit.
Place the pears immediately into a lemon water mix, as soon as you have peeled, cut, and cored the pears. Use 2 tablespoons of lemon juice per 1 cup of water. This keeps them from oxidizing and turning an unpleasant brown before you get them into the syrup. I had two large pots half filled to slip the pears into, probably 8 cups of water in one and 12 cups of water in the other (with applicable lemon juice amounts.)
I had approximately 10 pounds of pears (pre-dressing) and I got 5 1-Litre jars out of it. I also went a little crazy on the syrup, thinking that I wouldn’t have enough, and ended up with a further 3 jars of syrup (that I also put in sealed jars for another batch).
Canned (Preserved) Pears
- 4 cups sugar
- 4 quarts (16 cups) water
- 6 whole star anise
- 8 green cardamom pods
- 4 sticks cinnamon
- 8 whole cloves
- 6 1L Jars with lids
- Peel, core, and half the pears, placing immediately into a lemon water bath. I had 2 large pots half full of lemon water for the 10 pounds of pears.
- Wash the jars in hot soapy water, rinse well and set as many as possible in your canning pot. Fill the jars and pot with water (until the jars are covered) and bring to a boil. Set the lids in a saucepot, cover with water and bring to a boil, turning off the heat once it reaches a boil.
- In a large pot, bring the water, sugar, and spices to a boil.
- Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pears from their lemon water bath to the sugar water. Bring back up to a boil and boil for 5 minutes.
- Remove a jar from the canning pot, dumping out the water in the jar. Fill GENTLY with pears (adding an allspice, and couple cardamon pods and cloves to each jar). Fill the jar with syrup until half an inch from the top.
- Wipe the rim of the jar and place on a lid, screwing tightly.
- Repeat until all the jars are filled. Place the jars back in the boiling water (in the canning pot) and water bathe for 10 minutes.