Canned Sweet Pears

Emily DaFoe

It’s the beginning of fall, and our fruit trees are swelling with sweet, ripe fruit. Since all the fruit ripens at once, what better way to preserve than to make sweet canned fruit? 

I had the kids help me in every step of the process from harvesting the pears, to peeling, canning, and finally the best part…. Eating the sweet canned pears! This activity truly is a farm to table event, and gave the kids a great perspective of where food comes from!


  • 5-6 pounds pears

  • 2 cups sugar

  • 8 cups water

  • Spices - stick of cinnamon, cloves, cardamom pods, star anise

  • 6-8 pint canning jars with lids

  • Large pot

  • Canning tongs

  • Lemon

  • Bowl


  • Prep time - 25 min

  • Cook time - 20 min



STEP 1: 

Sterilize your canning jars by either placing them in a 200F oven for 10 minutes or in boiling water for 10 minutes

STEP 2: 

In a large bowl add half the juice of a lemon and fill it 2/3rd way full with water. The acid from the citric juice will prevent discoloration of the pears due to oxidation. 

Prepare the pears: Peel, core, and quarter the pears, and then add them to your lemon/water solution.

STEP 3: 

In a large pot, add 2 cups of sugar, 8 cups of water, and your choice of spices. Bring this to a boil. 

STEP 4: 

Drain your pears from the lemon solution, and then add them to the boiling sugar water. Let them come to a boil again, cook for 5 minutes. 

STEP 5: 

Pack your sterilized canning jars with the pears. Pour the remaining syrup over the pears to cover, leaving 1/2 inch of headroom from the top. Secure the lids, making them tight (but not too tight). 

STEP 6: 

In a large pot bring water to a roaring boil, carefully place your jars into the boiling water using your canning tongs, ensure the tops of your jars are covered with water. Keep them in the water bath for 20 minutes. Use your tongs to remove the jars from the boiling water, and place them on your counter to cool.

STEP 7: 
Testing jar seals: After cooling jars for 12 to 24 hours, remove the screw bands and test seals with one of the following options:

  • Option 1. Press the middle of the lid with a finger or thumb. If the lid springs up when you release your finger, the lid is unsealed.

  • Option 2. Tap the lid with the bottom of a teaspoon. If it makes a dull sound, the lid is not sealed. If food is in contact with the underside of the lid, it will also cause a dull sound. If the jar is sealed correctly, it will make a ringing, high-pitched sound.

  • Option 3. Hold the jar at eye level and look across the lid. The lid should be concave (curved down slightly in the center). If the center of the lid is either flat or bulging, it may not be sealed.

NOTE: If your jars have not sealed properly, then put then refrigerate them, and they should stay fresh for up to 3 weeks.