Michigan Fresh: Using, Storing, and Preserving Pears (HNI22)

Pears can be preserved and served in many ways. Michigan-grown pears are available in August, September and October.

Using, Storing and Preserving Pears

Recommended varieties

Bartlett, Moonglow and Clapp’s Favorite are excellent for canning. ''

Food safety and storage

  • Purchase fruits that are not bruised or damaged.
  • Wash hands before and after handling fresh produce.
  • Keep away from raw meat and meat juices to prevent cross–contamination.
  • For best quality and to preserve nutrients, preserve no more than your family can consume in one year.

Yield

1 pound = 2 cups sliced
11 pounds = a canner load of 9 pints
17 1/2 pounds  = a canner load of 7 quarts
1 bushel (50 pounds) = 40 to 50 pints frozen 16 to 25 quarts canned

 

How to Preserve

Canning

Pears, halved

Wash and peel pears. Cut lengthwise in halves and remove core. (A melon baller or metal measuring spoon is suitable for coring pears.) To prevent discoloration, keep pears in an ascorbic acid solution. Prepare a very light, light or medium syrup, or pack pears in apple juice, white grape juice or water.
Hot packs give the best quality product. Boil drained pears 5 minutes in syrup, juice or water. Fill hot jars with hot fruit and cooking liquid, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Wipe jar rims, adjust lids and process. Processing directions for canning pears in a boiling-water canner and in a dial-gauge and a weighted-gauge canner are given on the back page.

Syrups for Use in Canning Fruits

Type of Syrup

Percent Sugar*

Cups of Sugar** Per Quart Liquid

Yield of Syrup in Cups

How Syrup is Used Commercially

Very light

10%

½

4 ½

 

Light

20%

1

4 ¾

Very sweet fruit

Medium

30%

1 ¾

5

Sweet apples, sweet cherries, berries, grapes

Heavy

40%

2 ¾

5 1/3

Tart apples, apricots, sour cherries, gooseberries, nectarines, pears, peaches, plums

Very Heavy

50%

4

6

Very sour fruit

*Approximate

**In general, up to one-half of the sugar may be replaced by corn syrup or mild-flavored honey. A larger proportion of corn syrup may be used if a very bland, light-colored type is selected. 

Recommended process times (in minutes) for pears, halved, in a boiling-water canner at various altitudes.                                     

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

 

Process times for pears, halved, in a dial-gauge pressure canner at various altitudes.

                                                                                                                               
Style of pack Jar Size Process time (min.) 0-2,000 ft. 2,001-4,000 ft. 4,001-6,000 ft. 6,001-8,000 ft.
Hot Pints or Quarts 10 6 7 8 9

 

Process times for pears, halved, in a weighted-gauge pressure canner at various altitudes.

                                                                                                         
Style of pack Jar size Process time (min.) 0-1,000 ft. Above 1,000 ft.
Hot Pints or quarts 10 5 10

 

Let jars stand undisturbed for 24 hours, remove rings, check to make sure lids are sealed, wash jars, label, date and store.

Freezing

Select full-flavored pears that are crisp and firm, not mealy. Wash, peel and core. Slice medium pears into twelfths, large ones into sixteenths.

Syrup pack – Heat pears in boiling 40 percent syrup for 1 to 2 minutes, depending on size of pieces. Drain and cool.

Pack pears in freezer containers and cover with cold 40 percent syrup. For a better product, add 3/4 teaspoon (2250 mg) ascorbic acid to each quart of cold syrup. Leave headspace. Place a small piece of crumpled water-resistant paper on top to hold the fruit down. Seal, label, date and freeze.

Syrups for use in freezing fruits.

Type of syrup Percent sugar* Cups of sugar** Cups of water Yield of Syrup in Cups
Very Light 10 1/2 4 4 1/2 cups
Light 20 1 4 4 3/4 cups
Medium 30 1 3/4 4 5 cups
Heavy 40 2 3/4 4 5 1/3 cups
Very heavy  50 4 4 6 cups

*Approximate

**In general, up to one-half of the sugar may be replaced by corn syrup or mild-flavored honey. A larger proportion of corn syrup may be used if a very bland, light-colored type is selected. 

References

  • Michigan State University Extension Food Preservation Series Fact Sheet: Pears.. 2007. Bulletin WO1043. MSU Extension.
  • Andress, Elizabeth and Judy A. Harrison. So Easy to Preserve. Bulletin 989, 6th edition. Cooperative Extension University of Georgia, 2014.
  • National Center for Food Preservation. http://nchfp.uga.edu/

More information

Prepared by: Laurie Messing, MSU Extension educator

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