How to Can Pears
There are only ten minutes in the life of a pear when it is perfect to eat.
-- Ralph Waldo Emerson
Unlike apples, the perfect pear is not tree-ripened. Pears do their best ripening after they leave the branch. Left too long on the tree, pears will ripen from the inside out, leaving the firmest pear mushy in the center. Consequently, whether commercially grown or picked from your own tree, most pears still have some ripening to do when they reach your kitchen counter.
The time it takes a pear to ripen can be anywhere from 5 to 10 days, depending on the variety. Eat it too soon and it will be hard and lack sweetness. Too late and it’s mushy. If you push with a thumb near the stem, a pear at proper ripeness will “give” just a little. The window between hard and mushy is just a few days and seems to sneak by in the blink of an eye.
Want to extend the simple pleasure of a well-ripened pear? It may not be quite the same as eating them fresh, but canning is a great way to capture pears at their peak to be enjoyed all year long.
Like many other fruits, preserving the color and texture of produce at its prime requires some attention. Dipping the fruit into a mild acid like lemon juice or vinegar as soon as it is peeled will prevent browning. Packing the fruit in light syrup adds a little sweetness, but, more important, those sugars will help the tender flesh retain its texture and flavor.
Canned pears can be used in baking and cooking, in salads or desserts, or eaten straight from the jar. Best of all, when you can pears, you have more than a 10-minute window to eat them.
How to Can Pears
- 5 pounds ripe pears
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar or lemon juice
- 2 cups sugar
Fill a large bowl with 1/2 gallon water and add 1 tablespoon white vinegar or lemon juice.
Peel, core and segment or chop pears and place in water-vinegar solution.
Combine 2 cups sugar and 6 cups water in a large pot; bring to a boil.
Transfer pears to pot and cook 4 minutes.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer pears into sterilized canning jars, leaving 1/2 inch head space.
Pour syrup into jars to cover pears.
Cap with lids and bands and process in a boiling water bath for 25 minutes.
Yield: 4 to 5 pints