How to Preserve Pears


Did you know?

  • There are over 5,000 varieties of pears.
  • Joining the old-fashioned European yellow pears these days are crimson-red varieties and small, round Asian pears. European pears have typical pear shapes and their flesh is soft and succulent with skin either yellow or red.
  • Asian pears have round shapes with green-yellow or russet skin and their flesh is unique in pears in that it is crunchy. 
  • Pears can improve in both texture and flavor after picking

Preparing Pears for Freezing and Canning

The most popular variety is Bartlett pears available the first two weeks in September in Utah. If they are to be transported or not processed immediately, pick while slightly green and allow them to ripen in a cool, dark place.

One bushel of pears weights about 50 pounds and will yield 16-25 quarts of pears. A pound of pears yields 2 cups of sliced pears.

Wash and peel pears, cut them in half or quarters and core. Place in water containing 1 teaspoon crystalline ascorbic acid to each pint of water or follow recommendations on commercial preparations that contain ascorbic acid OR use 2 tablespoons salt to 1 gallon of water to prevent discoloration (do not soak longer than 20 minutes). Rinse and drain.

Freezing Pears

Prepare pears as above. Make a 40% syrup by boiling 3 cups sugar and 4 cups water. Add pears and simmer 1-2 minutes; drain and cool. Cover with cooled syrup, leaving ½ inch headspace. Add 1/2 teaspoon ascorbic acid per quart to avoid discoloration (optional). Seal and freeze.

Canning Pears

Pretreat pears as described in the previous section on “Preparing Pears.” Prepare a very light, light or medium syrup or pack pears in apple juice, white grape juice or water. To prepare a light syrup: Bring 2 cups sugar and 4 cups water to a boil.

Boil drained pears 5 minutes in syrup, juice or water. Fill jars with hot fruit. Pack hot pears in jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace, then cover with boiling syrup. Remove air bubbles and adjust lids. Process in a boiling water bath.

To water bath can: Place jars and rack in hot water adequate to cover jars by 1 inch. Begin timing when water begins to boil.

Processing Times at different altitudes for Pears in a BOILING WATER canner

Style of Pack Altitude 0-1,000 ft 1,001-3,000 ft 3,001-6,000 ft Above 6,000 ft
Hot Pints 20 min 25 min 30 min 35 min
Hot Quarts 25 min 30 min 35 min 40 min

Pear Puree

Wash fruit; drain. Cut fruit in half and pit. Coarsely chop. Measure fruit. Add 1 cup boiling water for each quart of fruit. Cook fruit in water until soft. Press through a sieve or food mill. Measure purée. Add 1 tablespoon lemon juice and sugar to taste to each quart of purée, if desired. Reheat slowly until sugar dissolves, stirring to prevent sticking. Ladle hot purée into hot jars, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Add clean lids and rings. Process in boiling water bath canner for 15 minutes if under 1,000 feet in altitude, 20 minutes if 1,001-6,000 feet, and if above 6,000 feet, process 25 minutes.

Note: Purée may be thinned with a sugar syrup or water before canning. When purée is used as a syrup for canning other types of fruit, add water to thin purée. If canned purée is to be used as a drink, add cold water before serving.

Jams and Preserves

Pear Syrup

  • 5 pounds pears, peeled and cored
  • 10 cups sugar
  • 2 cups crushed pineapple

Stir all together and cook 20 minutes or until of spreading consistency. Mash with potato masher to desired consistency. Put in hot jars (leaving 1/2 inch headspace), add clean lids and rings. Process in a boiling water bath canner as shown in the processing time table below.

Pear Butter

  • 2 quarts pear pulp (about 20 medium, fully ripe pears)
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange rind
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg or 1/2 ground ginger

Quarter and core pears. Cook until soft, adding only enough water to prevent sticking. Press through a sieve or food mill. Measure pulp.

Add remaining ingredients; cook until thick, about 15 minutes. As mixture thickens, stir frequently to prevent sticking. Pour hot butter into jars, leaving 1/4 inch head space. Wipe jar rims and adjust lids. Process as shown in the processing time table below.

Pear-Pineapple Jam

  • 24 large pears (if small, use 36)
  • 3-4 large oranges
  • 1 can #2 or 2 1/2 cups crushed pineapple, drained
  • Sugar

Peel pears and cut in small pieces. Peel oranges and cut in small pieces. Mix all fruit together; measure. For each cup of fruit, add 2/3 cup sugar. Mix and allow to stand 24 hours. Bring to a boil and let simmer 1 hour. Put in hot jars (leaving 1/2 inch headspace), add clean lids and rings. Process as shown in the processing time table below.

Processing Times at different altitudes for Pear Syrup, Pear Butter, and Pear Pineapple Jam in a BOILING WATER canner

Altitude 0-1,000 ft 1,001-6,000 ft Above 6,000 ft
Hot pack Pints or Half pints 5 min* 10 min 15 min

*Note: If processing time is less than 10 minutes, sterilize jar before filling.

Spiced Pears

  • 3 1/2 pounds medium-ripe pears (14-16)
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1 cup water

Tie in a spice bag:

  • 2 teaspoons whole ginger
  • 2 tablespoons whole cloves
  • 7 sticks cinnamon (3-inch pieces)

Wash, peel, and core pears. Place immediately in a solution of ½ teaspoon ascorbic acid and 2 quarts of water to prevent browning. Combine sugar, vinegar, and 1 cup water; bring to a boil. Add spices tied in cheesecloth bag. Boil 5 minutes. Drain pears and add to syrup. Simmer 5 minutes or until soft but still firm. Remove spice bag.

Pack pears into hot jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Fill jars to ½ inch of top with boiling hot syrup. Remove air bubbles. Wipe jar rims. Process 15 minutes in a boiling water bath.

Dried Pears

Pears should be fully ripe for drying, but not soft or mushy. Typically the best varieties for drying are Bartlett or other summer varieties—but others may be used.

Peel and core the pears and slice into desired thickness—remember the thicker the slice, the longer the drying time. Place sliced pears in a pretreatment solution of 1 teaspoon ascorbic acid per quart of water. Other pretreatments, such as sulfuring, may be used, but are more labor intensive.

Hold only a few minutes in the solution as longer times will soften the pears. Place on drying tray and dry 2-3 hours at 160ºF, then 130ºF until dry. Dried pears may be used dry as a snack, or slightly rehydrated in breads, cobblers, cooking, fritters, etc. They are also good chopped into hot oatmeal.


Store fresh pears in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks. Canned pears and nectar will maintain quality when stored up to 66 months at 40/F, 40 months at 70/F, or 15 months at 90/F. Dried pears can be stored up to 24 months at 40/F, 3 months at 70/F, or 1 month at 90/F. Well packaged frozen pears will keep up to 18 months.

Nutritional Information

  Calories Fiber g Vit. A IU Vit. C Mg Sodium mg Potassium mg Iron mg Calcium mg
Fresh pear, 1 large 121 6.5 48 9 2 249 0.36 19
Canned, light syrup, l cup 143 4.0 0 1.8 13 166 0.7 13
Dried, rehydrated, 1 cup 324 16.3 107 10 7.6 658 2.6 4

Savor the Season All Year Long!


  • Andress, Elizabeth L., and Judy A. Harrison. 1999. So Easy to Preserve, 4th Ed. Cooperative Extension Service, University of Georgia,
  • Athens, Georgia. Ball Blue Book. The Complete Guide to Home Canning and Freezing. 1995. Alltrista Corporation. Muncie, Indiana.


Teresa Hunsaker

Teresa Hunsaker

Teresa Hunsaker

Extension Educator | Emergency Preparedness | Food Preservation | Weber County

Home and Community Department

Phone: (801) 399-8200
Office Location: Weber County

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