Pears are usually ready for you to pick them around October every year. If you have/had a fruit tree then you’d understand why I thought it a good idea to share a how-to on canning pears.
A bearing fruit tree is literally a gift that keeps giving. Even when you’re overflowing in fruits…it’ll keep giving you those pears! Lol
Pears are pretty much the perfect fruit for canning. Unlike apples which if not chosen carefully can become mushy…pears most times hold their shape and a bit of their crunch.
When I was little and my mother would buy those tin cans of fruit cocktail, the pears were definitely my favourite. Despite the other fruits being sweet (sometimes even sweeter), the pears stood out to me because they held most of their pear flavour. I didn’t have to compensate for the lack of taste by having much sweet syrup with the pear pieces.
Canning allows for you to enjoy your pears even when the season is long gone. Also, instead of sharing just fresh pears and apples with your family, why not spice things up and share some canned pears and apples.
Which pears are ideal for canning?
It is best to can those pears that are juicy and firm. Mature, just ripe or almost ripe pears are also my preference because they still have a crunch.
When you’re using smaller varieties it’s okay to can them whole or for the medium sized ones, you can use them cut in halves.
Another thing I usually consider when canning is the acidity of the fruits. Apples are naturally acidic so when I can them, I don’t usually add acids. Pears are not the same. My acid of choice is usually just some lemon juice.
Preparing pears for canning
Fruit skin is okay when you’re eating them fresh, but for canning purposes, always wash, peel and core your pears.
I like to use small variety pears and (lazily) cut them in halves. The shape of your pear pieces doesn’t really matter. You can suppose to cut them into quarters, halves or slice them.
Once the pears are no longer in their skin, like apples or avocados, they are quick to oxidise. I tend to have a bowl of lemon water handy to quickly drop them into. That way they tend to keep their natural colour throughout the process.
Brine options for canning pears
What liquid you choose for canning your pears is really up to you. As I said when we went over canning apples, I wouldn’t really opt for water alone as it tends to suck the flavour from the fruits.
You can get creative using juices like white grape juice. This add some sweetness but doesn’t overwhelm the pear flavour like if you use pure apple juice for example.
A simple syrup sweetened with honey (but not too much) is also a good option.
Can pears be canned without sugar?
Yes, you definitely can do your pear preservation without added sweeteners but like I said before, I wouldn’t choose plain water. The pears will more than likely be flavourful when they’re balanced out with a semi sweet liquid.
Methods of canning pears
You can opt for two methods whenever you need to fill your jars. These are hot packing and raw packing.
If you prefer this method, you have to cook your pears for upto 5 minutes in the water or brine you choose. This is the best method because the pears retain a good texture and flavor after processing them.
This does not require you to cook them first. It has faster benefits since it does not require a further step. The problem here is that the pears get mushier when you pack them. Also, it gets harder to pack them since the pears will float on the brine.
How to process canned pears
The process you will use will depend on the type of pears and the available equipment. They are two different ways of processing canned pears.
Pressure canning pears
You can use this method if you are canning the Asian types in plain water. Since they have low acid levels, you need a pressure canner to keep them hot and free from any bacteria. This requires you to process the jars for about 15- 20 minutes as you adjust altitude if necessary.
Canning pears in a water bath
You can use the water bath for European pears since they have a higher level of acids. If you have Asian pears, add one tablespoon of lemon per pint to increase acid levels. It will take you upto 20 minutes for pints and 25 for quarts.
Storing canned pears
It would be best to store canned pears in a cool, dry place with no direct sunlight. So you should keep them away from the kitchen, cabinet, cellar, bookshelf, and so on. Also, you should ensure that the lid is well-tightened. For those loose lids, you can store them in the fridge and eat them within a week.
How long do canned pears last?
If you store them correctly, they can last for about 12-18 months. You should ensure that the lid is still airtight whenever you need to eat them. Any that has a loose lid should be discarded.
Frequently Asked Questions
Should you can raw pears?
Raw Packing is one of the ways to can your pears. I however, prefer my canned fruits to have been boiled for a bit first in the syrup I choose.
Hot Packed pears are less likely to float or change shape and texture.
Do you pressure can or water bath pears?
You can either use a water bath or pressure can pears depending on the variety that you have. For the European varieties, they have enough level of acidity so that you can opt for any of the methods. However, for the Asian types, you need to pressure can them because they have a lower level of acids.
Do you need ripe pears for canning?
Before canning your pears, you need them to be ripe enough. Since ripe pears are flavorful compared to unripe ones, you need to scan the ripe ones. Moreover, ripe pears tend to have a better texture than unripe ones.