How to Can Pears

Three Methods:Preparing the JarsPreparing the PearsCanning the Pears

Pears are a simple fruit to can and take a relatively short amount of time in comparison to many other fruits and vegetables. You still need to take the necessary precautions to ward off bacteria during the canning process, though.


  • 6 to 7 pounds (2.7 to 3.15 kg) pears, about four dozen[1]
  • 2 Tbsp (30 ml) lemon juice
  • 2 1/4 cups (510 ml) sugar
  • 5 1/4 cups (1.31 l) water


  • 6 pints

Method 1
Preparing the Jars

  1. Image titled Can Pears Step 1
    Wash the jars and lids. Use dish detergent and hot water to scrub the jars and lids, especially if they were previously used. Make sure to thoroughly rinse them with running water to remove any soap.
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    Sanitize and heat the lids.[2] Set a small pot of water to a boil over medium to medium-high heat. Once the water begins to boil, turn the heat down so that it stays at a simmer rather than a rolling boil. Dunk the lids inside the water and allow them to remain there for about five minutes before removing them with jar tongs.
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    Sanitize the jars in hot water. Boil a large stockpot of water on the stove top over high heat. Once the water has reached a rolling boil, carefully dunk the jars into the water using jar tongs, moving carefully to avoid burning yourself or letting the jars clunk together. Allow the items to sit in the boiling water for ten minutes.
    • Alternatively, you can use a hot water cycle on your dishwasher to sanitize the jars, as well. Do not add dish detergent if you previously washed the pieces by hand. If you do add soap, make sure that the dishwasher goes through a full rinse cycle before pulling the jars and lids out.
    • Make sure that the washing and sanitizing occurs immediately before the jars are ready to be filled. Both the jars and lids need to be hot in order to safely hold the hot contents you will be pouring in.
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    Dry the jars and lids. Use a clean dish towel or paper towels to wipe the jars and lids dry. Allowing them to air dry naturally may cause them to cool too much.

Method 2
Preparing the Pears

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    Choose the right pears. Pears used for canning should be the same pears you use for eating. The fruit should be ripe and soft. Do not use under-ripe fruit or pears that have soft spots, bruises, or rotted portions.
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    Wash and peel the pears. Sanitation is key in keeping the pears safe for consumption. Wash the pears by running them under cool to warm water, scrubbing the skins lightly with your fingers or a soft toothbrush. Use a knife or vegetable peeler to remove the thin layer of skin on the outside of each pear.
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    Slice the pears. Use a sharp knife to cut the pears into halves. You can also cut them into quarters, if desired. Cut around the inner core and remove any seeds or pieces of the core from the halves or quarters.
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    Dip the pears in lemon juice. Put the lemon juice into a large stockpot and add the pear slices. Toss the slices in the juice to coat. The lemon juice acts as a preservative to prevent the pears from browning after being cut.
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    Heat the sugar and water in a medium saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat before reducing the heat to medium and allowing the syrup to simmer an additional two to three minutes. This simple syrup will be what the pears sit in inside their jars.
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    Add the syrup to the pears. Pour the syrup into the pot of pears and mix well to coat. There should be enough liquid to cover the fruit slices.
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    Bring the contents of the stockpot to a boil. After the pears are sitting in syrup, heat them over medium-high until the syrup reaches a boil again.
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    Cook the pears slightly. Reduce the heat so that the syrup comes down to a simmer again. Cover the pot and cook for about four to five minutes. You do not want them to become too soft, but the pears should be warmed thoroughly.

Method 3
Canning the Pears

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    Begin boiling water in a boiling-water canner. Fill the canner about two-thirds high with water, or enough to cover the jars when placed inside. Make sure that a jar rack is placed at the bottom for your jars to sit on. If you do not have a rack, you may need to place a dish towel on the bottom of the canner to prevent the jars from moving around too much as they process.
    • You can use a large stockpot in place of a boiling-water canner if necessary. You will still need to place a rack or towel inside, though.
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    Place a wide-mouth funnel into each jar as you fill it. You can fill the jars without a funnel, but the process will usually be a little slower and messier without one.
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    Scoop the pears into the jars. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the pears from the pot into the jars. Focus on transferring the pears for now, rather than the syrup, to make sure that the pears are evenly distributed in the jars.
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    Ladle syrup over the pears in the jars. Slowly pour syrup from the stockpot into each jar to fill up empty space. The pears should be completely covered by the syrup, but you need to leave at least 1/2 inch (1.25 cm) of empty space at the top of each jar.
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    Remove any air bubbles. Take a plastic knife or smooth butter knife and run it around the inside perimeter of the jar to remove air bubbles trapped inside.
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    Clean off the tops of the jars. If you got syrup or anything else onto the outside of the jars, wipe it off with a clean sponge or towel. Excess syrup can actually prevent the jars from sealing correctly.
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    Place the lids on the jars. Firmly fix the lids onto the jars, but stop once you begin to feel resistance. Making the lids too tight can actually cause the jars to chip or crack as they process.
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    Carefully lower the jars into the boiling water in the canner. Use jar tongs or a magnetic jar lifter. Make sure that the jars do not strike each other going into the canner and that they do not touch each other inside the canner.
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    Process the canned pears until sealed. The processing time will vary depending on your altitude.[3]
    • Process pint-size jars for 20 minutes at altitudes below 1000 feet (304.8 m).
    • Process for for 25 minutes for altitudes between 1000 and 3000 feet (304.8 m to 914.4 m).
    • Process for 30 minutes at altitudes between 3000 and 6000 feet (914.4 m to 1.828 km).
    • Process for 35 minutes for any altitude above 6000 feet (1.828 km).
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    Remove the jars from the water. As soon as the processing time has passed, turn the heat off and remove the jars using jar tongs or a magnetic jar lifter. Remove them carefully to prevent them from striking into anything. Set the jars out on a cutting board or dish towel set in a cool, dry area until.
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    Allow the jars to cool before checking the seal. After 12 to 24 hours pass, check the center button on the top of the lid to make sure that the lid sealed. If the button does not move, the canning process was successful. If it "pops" up and down, it was not successful, and the pears should be stored in the refrigerator and consumed within several days.
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    Store the canned pears. Successfully canned pears can be labeled and stored inside a cool cupboard.


  • Do not store pears that have not sealed correctly for more than a few days. You should also avoid storing the pears at room temperature if they did not seal correctly, since this invites bacteria inside faster.
  • Do not simply reprocess the jars if the seal did not take the first time. If desired, you can reboil the contents of the unsealed jar before trying again, but both the pear contents and the jars must be reboiled before safe to use once more. If a second attempt fails, do not try a third.

Things You'll Need

  • 6 pint-size (500 ml) glass canning jars with metal lids
  • Slotted spoon
  • Ladle
  • Large stockpot
  • Medium saucepan
  • Boiling-water canner
  • Jar tongs or magnetic jar lifter
  • Butter knife or plastic knife

Article Info

Categories: Fruits and Vegetables