Preserving The Harvest: Pear Preserves

~by  Texas Homesteader~ 
*this post contains an affiliate link

A sweet friend invited me to come pick some of the pears from her huge pear tree recently and of course I jumped on that offer!

RancherMan & I showed up at her house armed with a feed sack that typically holds 50 lbs of feed. We proceeded to fill that bad boy up with pears!

I promised to bring back some canned pears for her. But she said she’s had all the pears she wishes to have this year. LOL.

So we thanked her profusely, waved goodbye and came home to begin processing all those pears. Of course the first thing I canned was a couple of batches of pear halves in light syrup. I love to eat these right out of the jar cold from the fridge.

But how else can I preserve these delicious pears? RancherMan loves the pear preserves typically made by a close friend.

So I called her up & asked if she would share her recipe. Being the sweetheart that she is, she did! And she said I was welcome to share the recipe with you.  (Thanks Virginia)

A dear friend gave me her amazing recipe for pear preserves, and she said I could share the recipe with you. You're Welcome! #TexasHomesteader

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Having so many pears to go through I was very thankful that I had this * apple peeler to get me through it quickly.

I don’t know what I would do if I had to peel that many pears with a paring knife! I found that I could peel, core & slice a pear in 5-7 seconds!  WOO-HOO, watch me go!

1st Attempt – Too Juicy

The first double-batch of preserves I made I followed the recipe exactly. But it seemed to have too much syrup and I had to boil the pears over 2.5 hours to get it to the consistency I wanted.

I asked Virginia about this & she said it appeared my pears were very ripe so I should try it again with the same amount of sugar but less water & slightly more pears per batch.

So for my second double-batch I peeled cored & chopped about 10 cups of pears instead of 8. I dropped them into a solution of Fruit-Fresh & water to keep them from turning dark.

When I had the pears prepared I pulled out my big stock pot & stirred 3 cups sugar into only 1 cup water this time. It did seem to help the quantity of syrup.

When the syrup had boiled about 10 minutes I added my prepared pears and a few slices of lemon. I only boiled the pears this time for about 1 hr 15 minutes.

When they were as thick as I like I stirred in a tablespoon of vanilla & ladled the preserves into hot washed & sterilized jars, wiped the rim and placed the two-part canning lid in place. These jars can now be sealed in a hot-water bath for 10 minutes.

The resulting pear preserves this second time were a lighter color. Maybe because I didn’t simmer the pears as long, although I really love the golden color of the first batch too. Both were absolutely delicious!

A dear friend gave me her amazing recipe for pear preserves, and she said I could share the recipe with you. You're Welcome! #TexasHomesteader

Virginia warned me not to try to make more than a double batch at a time so I heeded her advice and made two double batches. Each of the double-batches I made yielded 6 half-pints.

Ms. Virginia’s Recipe

So without further adieu here’s the single-batch recipe & Virginia’s instructions
(I have included a few of my own notes below in italics)


This delicious recipe yields 3 half-pints of pure bliss. I always double it! The recipe was shared by a dear friend and is RancherMan's absolute favorite preserve.  I'm happy to make it for him every year.

Course Jams & Jellies
Cuisine American
Keyword pear, preserves
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Water-Bath Canning Time - half pints 10 minutes
Servings 3 Half-Pint Jars


  • 1 quart (4 cups) peeled, cored & cubed pears
  • 1.5 cups sugar
  • 1 cup water I only used 1/2 cup for my very ripe pears
  • 1 lemon sliced 1/4" with seeds removed
  • 1 Tablespoon Vanilla extract (optional - I added after pears were cooked but before adding to jars)


  1. DIRECTIONS: Peel, core, and cut up the pears. You will need 4 cups of pears PER BATCH ready to go.

  2. Make a syrup of 1 1/2 cups of sugar and 1 cup of water. (less water for very ripe pears) Boil about 10 minutes to dissolve the sugar and start the process of creating syrup, then cool slightly.
  3. Slice lemon into approximately 1/4" slices and remove the seeds. Add lemon slices to the syrup when you start the process with the pears, three or four slices to each quart of pears.
  4. Add prepared pears & lemon slices and bring to a slow boil. Once boiling, boil rapidly until the pears are translucent and tender. This generally takes about 30 minutes to one hour. (note, my boiling process took longer. Watch for the pears to turn translucent and for the syrup to thicken to your liking)
  5. Watch the boiling pears closely as they can burn very badly quickly. When they are done pack the pears in hot, sterile jars and allow them to seal. Don't forget to wipe the tops so that the seal can happen. Most of the new canning books call for you to hot water process the jars. About 10 minutes in a SIMMERING processor is plenty. Get it too hot and the syrup begins to boil and escape from the jars.

Recipe Notes

Note from Ms. V: This recipe comes from my mother's Kerr canning book circa 1938. It is a slow process but so worth it.

* * * * * * * * * *

Thanks Virginia – you’re the BEST!


Other Pear Delights:

Our Delicious Jelly & Preserves Recipes:

All My Delicious Jelly, Jam & Preserves Recipes

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42 thoughts on “Preserving The Harvest: Pear Preserves

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Hummm… I suppose it would depend on how chunky you like your preserves. For RancherMan, I usually chunk them to 1/4″ but I’ve chunked them to about 1/2″ before too. Spreading on biscuits is easier with smaller chunks but he likes to stir it into his yogurt to sweeten, and for that purpose he prefers the larger chunks. I generally make it using smaller chunks though. ~TxH~

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Sounds like you’re experiencing the same thing I experienced & detailed in this post. The recipe-giver informed me that the ripeness of the pears could affect the syrup thickness. She instructed me to amend the liquid I was added and it worked great for me. I did finally get the thin syrup to thicken up with a significantly longer boil time while stirring constantly. ~TxH~

  1. Pat Leming

    This is the same recipe I use for making strawberry and fig jam, except no water added to those jams.
    I made this pear jam but used only a very small amount of water since the pears were already very juicy.

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Good call Pat. I know pears can be anywhere from barely any juice when first ripe to very juicy when more ripe. Plus I’m sure the variety of pear makes a difference too. RancherMan loves these pear preserves and I’m happy to make them for him when we’re blessed with a few pears. ~TxH~

  2. Marian Parkes

    Is the measurement on the pears 4 cups of pears? Or one quart plus 4 cups , which would actually be double, right? I’ll be trying this recipe this year when the pears come in. I have made your honeysuckle jelly and it’s a family favorite. Making it again this week!

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      The note ‘four cups’ should be in parentheses and is just a clarification for the quart measurement. I’ll correct it immediately Marian, thanks so much for bringing this to my attention! Glad you loved the Honey suckle jelly, it’s a favorite with us too! You’re gonna love this pear preserves equally well I’m sure. ~TxH~

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      I’ve done it both ways Kim, it has no effect on the canning procedure so the decision is yours. I think it looked kinda cool in my jars that I gave as gifts. And for our own jars, after I pop the lid of my canned jars I take the lemon peel out and nibble on it – it’s delicious like candied lemon peel. But technically it’s not used in the same way as spooning pear preserves on a biscuit or stirred into yogurt, so I’ve pulled the lemon slices out before canning on occasion too. Personally, I like leaving them in because I like snacking on them when I pop the seal on a new jar, but it does mean sometimes RancherMan has to dig them out before stirring pear preserves into his yogurt. ~TxH~

  3. Helen at the Lazy Gastronome

    I love homemade preserves -it’s like a bite of summer in the winter! Thanks for sharing on the What’s for Dinner link up and don’t forget to leave a comment at the party – Next week’s features that also leave a comment get pinned, yummed and tweeted!

  4. Autumn

    What a timely recipe! I have about 60 lbs of pears ripening in my basement and was wondering what to do with em! Now I know…thanks for sharing this on the blog hop!

  5. ColleenB.

    Your preserves looks wonderful. Amazed by the beautiful color. Looks like there is more air space (1/2in.?) in your canned pear preserves; more than normal the way it seems. Is that the requirement for canning pears? My apple peeler hardly sees the light of day. Have had mine for a few years now and I think it has only been used twice.

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      The air space requirement is a minimum to keep the bubbling preserves from getting under the lid and making a failing seal. As long as I leave at least the minimum amount, I usually just try to divide the preserves evenly amongst the jars so there’s not the last one that’s left only 3/4 full, and often times that leaves a tad more than the minimum requirement of airspace in the jars.

      1. Melissa

        That’s not exactly correct. Yes, you leave airspace at the top of the jar, called head space, in order to accommodate the expansion of the food during processing. But it is equally important not to leave too much head space because the food may not expand to push out all the air at the top of the jar which can mean your jars may not seal properly. Also, part of the reason canned foods are shelf is because most food borne bacteria can’t grow in an anaerobic environment (to little air). If the jars are not full enough for all the air to be pushed out from expansion during canning, any bacteria will quickly grow and will not only spoil the food but may also make the consumer ill.

  6. Stephanie

    Wow! I haven’t blogged as regularly as I used to so it has been a while since I had the opportunity to visit your lovely blog, but I am so thankful for G’day from Oz where I have found you again! I am a home schooling parent and we had a canning workshop at our co-op recently. I have not gotten into canning personally yet, but it is a goal of mine.

  7. Jamie @ Love Bakes Good Cakes

    This sounds so delicious! Pinned this! Thanks for linking up to Freedom Fridays! I hope you’ll join us again tonight! 🙂

  8. Ashley @

    The picture is gorgeous! And I love that the recipe is from 1938. Just stopped by to let you know I am featuring this in a few minutes! I was unable to copy your beautiful picture to show off, but I am linking it up 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  9. Sharon

    This takes my mind back to my aunt making peach preserves. She would always give me a jar when I came home on break from college. I’ve never made preserves myself but this makes me think I should give it a try. Definitely having a peeler makes the job seem easier…

  10. Babs

    Your pear preserves look delicious! I’d love to slather some on a hot buttered biscuit. I’ve only made pear preserves once. I usually make fig preserves, since we have a huge bush, but I DO love pear. Thanks for sharing your recipe.

  11. Holly

    Sounds delicious! I will have to try this one. We just got a huge bag from our local supermarket (not as great as your tree!) but we’re enjoying munching through them so far.

  12. Lisa Lynn

    Gorgeous! And this look so yummy too! I miss my pear trees that I planted at our last house. sigh. I planted 2 trees here, but they take so long to produce.

    Thanks for sharing the recipe! I hope to have my own homegrown pears one day to try this recipe!

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      LisaLynn, I planted a pear tree year-before-last here and it’s struggled due to ongoing drought. I’m noticing with the recent rainfall there are green leaves showing on the tree again so I’m hoping it really does have that kind of vigor! (fingers crossed) ~TMR~

  13. victoria witte

    Oh I’m so glad to get this recipe. My grandmother used to make pear preserves, she must have had, just like you, a friend who had a pear tree You never see pear preserves in stores even ones like local orchards which often carry different varieties of locally made jellies and preserves. So I will have to try this and see how it measures up to my remembrance. So glad you posted it and your friend offered the recipe.


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