The Bartlett and Kieffer varieties are the best pears for canning. After the pears have been harvested, store them in a cool area (60 to 65 degrees) until they are fully ripe and ready to be canned. Use only firm, ripe pears for canning. Pears that are bruised, or overly-ripe will not produce quality results.
Step 1: Preparing the Canning Syrup
In a stockpot, place enough water or fruit juice to completely cover the pear halves you will be cutting. If you are using fruit juice, nothing else is needed. If you are using water add one of the following for every 5 cups of water:
- 2 cups of sugar
- 1/8 cup of splenda
- 1 cup of sugar PLUS 1 cup honey, maple syrup, or light corn syrup.
Step 2: Cut the Pears
Wash and drain the pears. Using a sharp paring knife, stem, peel, and cut each pear in half. Cut the circular core and seeds from each pear half. Place the pears in the stockpot with the juice or sugar.
Step 3: Prepare the Water Bath Canner and Poaching the Pears
Fill the water bath canner with water and heat it over high heat until the water comes to a boil. While waiting on the water to boil, bring the pears and syrup to a slow boil over medium high heat. Boil for 20 minutes until the pears are poached. The original white color of the pear halves will become more translucent. When the water in the canner is boiling place each of the canning jars, lids, and rims in the boiling water to sterilize them.
Step 4: Fill the Jars
The canning jars and lids need only to remain in the boiling water for a few moments to sterilize them. Remove the jars and lids from the boiling water. The jar grabber and lid lifter that come with most canning kits make this job much easier. Place the jar funnel in the first jar to be filled with pears. The jar funnel prevents spills on the outer rim of the jars. The rim of the jar must be very clean to seal properly. Using a ladle or large spoon, put the pear halves into the jars. When the jars are filled with pears, ladle the syrup or juice into the jar, leaving ½ to ¼ inch of head space at the top of the jar. Place the sterile lid and rings on each jar.
Step 5: Process the Canned Pear Halves
Process the jars of canned pear halves by boiling them in a stockpot or water bath canner for 20 minutes. Using the jar grabber to lift them out, place them on the counter and leave the jars undisturbed overnight. The jars will usually begin to seal within 1 to 20 minutes, but check each jar to ensure it has sealed before putting them away in the pantry. The top of the jar should be sunken and have no give to it when it is depressed in the middle.
Canning pear halves is a great way to preserve the fruit for winter months and the jars make very attractive gifts for family, friends and co-workers. Some other common recipes for canning pears include pear sauce and pear preserves.