Got fresh pears?
Don't know what to do with them?
Good news - canning pears is relatively easy and can be accomplished by even the most amateur cook. It's a great way to keep those yummy pears sweet 'n fresh!
And the fact is, there's nothing more satisfying than opening up a jar of delicious home canned pears. The store-bought equivalent simply can't be compared!
Follow these simple directions for a delicious result!
Step 1: Wash and Sanitize Your Jars
You need to have perfectly clean jars for any canning project! The easiest way to achieve sanitized jars is to run them through your dishwasher right before you use them. While your jars are being washed, prepare your fruit for canning using the following steps.
Step 2: Peel the Pears
When canning pears, most people remove the skins before they can them. If you've ever purchased commercially canned pears, you'll notice that the peel is removed from the fruit. However, this does take a little extra time! If you prefer to leave the skin on your fruit, that is perfectly fine and will not affect the taste or quality in any way. It is entirely up to you! What is your preference?
Note: When canning pears, don't peel more fruit than you will need. The fruit will start to turn brown if you don't can it right away. Typically, you can fit about 2 lbs. of pears into each quart size jar. Since your canner should hold about 7-8 quart canning jars at a time, you shouldn't peel more than 16 lbs. of pears!
Step 3: Slice the Pears
Using a sharp knife, cut the pears into slices. Some people cut the pear exactly in half and then scoop out the core. Others simply cut the fruit away from the core and then discard it. It really doesn't matter! Whatever you like is fine. Canning pears doesn't have to be complicated when it comes to slicing.
Place your sliced pears into a large mixing bowl.
Step 4: Fill Your Jars
Remove your jars from the dishwasher and fill each jar with your pear slices.
This is where your canning funnel comes in handy.
Leave about one inch of empty space at the top of your jar - you don't want to cram your jars too full! Set your jars aside.
Step 5: Prepare the Syrup
There are several options at this point. When canning pears, some people fill their jars with only water. Others prepare a light syrup with water and sugar. Still others prefer the heavy, rich syrups that are more common in store-bought pears. You may also use apple juice for a healthier alternative. The choices and recipes are listed below:
a. Water: simply boil hot water and add a dash of lemon juice.
b. Light Syrup: boil 6 cups of water with 2 cups of sugar. This makes a lightly sweet accompaniment to your pears.
c. Medium Syrup: boil 6 cups of water and 3 cups of sugar.
d. Heavy Syrup: boil 6 cups of water with 4 cups of sugar.
e. You can also fill your jars with White Grape Juice or Apple Juice.
Once you have selected your syrup and boiled it, fill your jars with the liquid. Don't fill the jars to overflowing - leave about 1/2 inch of empty space at the top!
Step 6: Add Lids
Use a wet cloth or paper towel to wipe the tops of each jar before screwing on the lids. If your rims are too sticky, you won't get a good seal and your jar may come unsealed later on.
Screw on your lids. Make sure they are clean and that they have been washed in warm soapy water.
Step 7: Can Them!
When canning pears, you will need to use the water bath method.
Place your water-bath canner on the stove and put your jars in it. Fill up the pot with enough water to almost completely cover your jars. Turn the burner on high. Once the water has started to boil (this may take up to 20 minutes), set a timer for the appropriate amount of time!
Depending on your altitude, you may need to process your jars a little longer!
If you live at 0 - 1,000 ft, water-bath your pears for 25 minutes.
If you live at 1,001 - 3,000 ft, water bath your pears for 30 minutes.
If you live at 3,001 - 6,000 ft, water bath your pears for 35 minutes.
If you live above 6,000 ft, water bath your pears for 40 minutes.
Once the pears are done, carefully remove them from the canner and place them on a towel to cool. Do not touch the jars or disturb them with your fingers! Let the jars sit there for at least 12 hours before moving them.
When you're done canning pears, obviously you're going to have a sticky mess in your kitchen! Donate that huge pile of pear peelings to the compost pile and wipe all your counters down with warm soapy water. (We like giving the floor a good scrubbing, too - only if necessary!)
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