Pears are one of the fruits I tend to preserve with the least. But I’m always elated when I do. They’re one of those special preserves in my pantry that I covet. The fruit can be canned as pear jam or jelly, transformed into chutneys, pickled and infused, dehydrated into chips, frozen for later use and so much more.
The jam recipe I share here is the perfect flavor for fall. It is an enjoyable spread over warm toast or pancakes, delicious dolloped over soft cheeses or served as a glaze over grilled protein.
Yield: 3 pints (or 6 – 8oz jelly jars)
- 8 cups pears, cores removed, diced
- 4 cups white granulated sugar
- 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/8 tsp ground cloves
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
Wash and core pears, removing any flawed or bruised spots. Add diced pears to a large, heavy-bottomed, non-reactive pot. Add sugar and mix well to coat the pears.
Cook over medium heat until the pears can easily be pierced with a fork. Use a potato masher to gently smash the pears into a smoother consistency. Don’t break them down completely, though, as you’ll want this jam to have some chunks for texture.
Add in the seasonings and lemon juice, mix well and cook until the mixture thickens. Stir often to avoid burning.
Ladle the hot pear jam into warm prepared jars (canning jars washed with warm, soapy water and kept warm until filling). Add washed lids and tighten on the rings.
Once cooled, refrigerate and enjoy within two months.
Water Bath Canning Instructions
Ladle the hot pear jam into warm prepared jars (canning jars washed with warm, soapy water and kept warm until filling). Leave 1/4-inch headspace (room from the jam to the rim of the jar).
Use a clean, dampened, lint-free towel or paper towel to wipe the rims of the jars, removing any spillage. Place the canning jar lids on the rim of the jars and screw the rings on until they are gently snug (not fully tightened).
Lower the jars into a hot water bath and cover the canning pot with its lid. Turn up the heat to high. Once the canner reaches a rolling boil, set the timer for ten minutes.
Adjust time for altitude.
Once water bath processed, carefully remove the jars from the canner and place them on a towel-lined surface for 12 hours without touching. After 12 hours, remove the rings and test that the lids are completely suctioned to the jar. Wipe jars clean, label and date the jars.
Preserved jars of jam will keep for at least one year shelf stable but must be transferred to the refrigerator once the seal is broken.
According to the Penn State Extension Office, the best pears for preserving with are Bartlett, Bosc, Anjou and Comice.
You can leave the skins on for this recipe or remove them. It’s up to your personal preference.
Feel free to omit and adjust seasonings in this recipe. A plain pear and cinnamon jam is just as delicious.
Use an immersion blender instead of a potato masher to make a pear butter instead of a jam.
For more information on safe home water bath canning, read through this USDA resource.
For more canning recipes, check out Thurow’s book Can It & Ferment It.