Canning Pears

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When canning pears, you need to choose fruit that is ripe but not too soft or overripe. It’s a balancing act. When pears are ripe… they are ripe NOW. They don’t last long. That ripe stage is over and on to overripe quickly. Learn how to can fresh pears and avoid the brownging problem that often is an issue.

Jar of home canned pears sitting outside.

Pears may be processed in a water bath canner.

Canning Basics Course to learn how to can fruit, veggies, and tomatoes.

Know Your Canner

Before you start this project, if you are not familiar with using a water bath canner I recommend reading – How to Use a Water Bath Canner.

Pears can be processed in a Steam Canner as well. This is basically a substitute for the Water Bath… highly recomended! You can check out How to Use a Steam Canner here.

This will familiarize you with how these canners work and what steps to take to get set up for any canning project.  

Canning Pears: Extended Step by Step Directions

First step is always to gather all your canning supplies. The goal is to have the canner and jars hot but not boiling when you are ready to start packing the jars.


  • pears
  • sugar or honey – for the syrup (optional)
  • 1 tsp vanilla (optional addition to syrup)

Preparing the Fruit

Peel, core, and slice your pears in halves or quarters. Cut out any bruised areas. Slice right into your choice of treatments I’ll explain just below.

How to Keep Sliced Pears from Turning Brown

Pears are notorious for turning brown once you’ve cut them open. This is because of an enzyme action that starts as soon as the flesh is exposed to oxygen. Protecting the flesh of the pear is key to keeping the color of the pear nice.

You have a few options. Some work better than others. Something is better than nothing! Simply add your pears to one of the following solutions as you peel and slice them.

  • Sugar water – 3-4 Tablespoons sugar dissolved in 1 quart water. 
  • Lemon water-  1/2 cup lemon juice dissolved in 1 quart of water. (this is what I usually do)
  • Fruit Fresh comes as a white powder. Follow the directions on the package. 
  • Salt water – 2 teaspoons salt dissolved in one quart water.  (My new favorite for apples, haven’t tried it with pears yet. )
Slicing a juicy pear in half over a dish of pear scraps.

I prefer the lemon juice option, just because I usually have lemon juice on hand. I believe the recommendation is 3/4 cup to 1 gallon water…but I almost never need a gallon of pretreatment, so I use 1/2-1 cup lemon juice to 2 quarts water. That is stronger than needed, but my pears always stay nice and bright.

Remember this is NOT the same syrup that you’ll put in your jars. This is just to hold the pears until you are ready to start your hot pack.

Sugar Syrup, Honey, or Fruit Juice Recipes

When you have enough pears prepared, drain (rinse if you are worried about a salt taste) and add pears to your choice of hot syrup. (recipe choices below)

Pears can be canned in several types of syrup. (This is the syrup that goes in the jars) It is actually optional, you could just use water, but if you use water the flavor will wash out of the pears and the results might be less than satisfactory. Pears are pretty fragile so some sort of syrup will also help the pear to maintain a better texture.

  • Sugar Syrup Prepare a light or medium syrup. Simply heat water and sugar in a saucepan until sugar dissolves.
    • Light syrup – 2 cups sugar to 1 quart water
    • Medium syrup – 3 cups sugar to 1 quart water
  • Canning Pears with Honey You can also make a syrup with honey if you don’t want to use processed sugar.
    • Medium honey syrup – 2 cups honey to 4 cups water
    • Light honey syrup – 1 1/2 cups honey to 4 cups water
  • Canning Pears with Fruit Juice   Another option is to can your pears in fruit juice.  Either apple juice or white grape juice are acceptable options.  Personally, I think the white grape juice would make a nice flavor combination with the pears.

Prepare your choice of syrup. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to just keep hot.

Drain pears and add to your sweet syrup.

Simmer pears 5 minutes in syrup, just enough to heat them through. You don’t want to overcook them, but when you are canning pears, a hot pack works best.

Packing pear slices into clean canning jars through a green canning funnel with other canning jars in the background.

Filling the jars

Using a slotted spoon, pack hot pears into hot jars, covering with the same sweet syrup you cooked them in, leaving a 1/2-inch headspace.

Wipe the rims clean, remove any air bubbles, and place your lids.

NOTE: As a high-acid fruit, pears can be processed in a water bath canner. One exception to this? Asian pears Did you know that Asian pears must be processed in a pressure canner? Check out more on canning Asian pears here.

Processing in a Waterbath Canner

Process pints for 20 minutes or quarts for 25 minutes, adjusting for altitude. (See recipe card below for more details and altitude adjustments.) If you’d like to learn more about why adjusting your processing time is so important, check out this page on altitude adjustments.

Canning Asian Pears

Did you know that Asian Pears are actually low acid? That means that in order to can them you should add a little lemon juice to acidify them just a bit. Learn how to can Asian pears (also known as apple pears or oriental pears). They are a little different than regular pears.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do Pears Have to Be Ripe to Can Them? How Do I Speed Up the Ripening Process?

Yes, pears for canning should be ripe, but not overly ripe (mushy). Pears are the rare fruit that can be picked green and still taste wonderful when is ripened off the tree. It is common to pick pears green but wait until they are ripe to can them.

If your pears are green, let them set on the counter for a few days at least. (Some people use apples and bananas to increase ethylene gas, and thus quicken the process. To do this, simply place apples and bananas near the pears, or put bananas or apples in a paper bag with the pears.)

What Kinds of Pears Can Be Canned? What About Anjou? Bartlett?

According to Ball, Bartlett pears are best, but I don’t see why you couldn’t can ANY variety of pear, as long as they’re at the proper ripeness. (The only exception would be Asian pears, which must be canned with lemon juice for safety reasons.)

Can I can pears with no sugar?

According to the NCHFP, pears can be canned in “syrup, juice, or water.” However, pears are one type of fruit that benefits from the addition of some sort of syrup. The sugar will help preserve the texture. Pears are delicate and can use the help!

Printable Recipe

Canning Pears

Pears are another fruit that we love. Jarring it up provides fruit year around that is so much healthier than store-bought fruit. Here’s how to can fresh pears.
Print Recipe
Jar of home canned pears sitting outside.
Prep Time:1 hour
Processing Quarts (adjust for altitude):25 minutes
Total Time:1 hour 25 minutes


  • Pears 
  • Sugar or honey for syrup, optional
  • Vanilla optional


  • Start by preparing jars and getting water in the canner heating. You want the canner hot, but not boiling, when the jars are ready to be processed.
    See full water bath canning instructions here.  

For a Hot Pack

  • Make a light or medium syrup. (Add in 1 tsp vanilla if desired.)
  • Peel, core, and slice pears in halves or slices.  
  • Treat to prevent browning. Slice into a pot of lemon water. 1/2-1 cup lemon juice to 2 quarts water.
  • When all pears are sliced, drain and add pears to syrup, with just enough syrup to cover. (see notes for syrup recipes and options)
  • Simmer 5 minutes. 
  • Pack hot pears into hot jar. 
  • Cover with syrup, leaving 1/2” headspace. 
  • Remove air bubbles. Wipe the rim clean and place on your seal and ring. Place the jar in the canner. Proceed to fill all jars. Process according to the chart below.  


Processing with a Water Bath Canner
Place the jar in the warm canner. Proceed to fill all jars placing them in the canner.
When all the jars are filled, bring the water in the canner to a boil.  When a boil is reached that is when you’ll start your timing.   Process for the length of time on the chart below.  Adjust for your altitude. 
 After your time is over, turn the heat off remove the lid and allow the canner to rest for about 5 minutes. Then bring your jars up out of the water.  Allow them to rest for another 5 minutes. Then remove the jars and place them a few inches apart on a thick towel to cool completely.  Leave them alone for about 12 hours.  
When they are cooled remove the metal bands, check the seals, label the jars and store them away! 
Processing Times for Water Bath Canner (Hot Pack) 
Altitude – Pints – Quarts 
0-1,000 ft – 20 minutes – 25 minutes 
1,001-3,000 ft – 25 minutes – 30 minutes 
3,001-6,000 ft – 30 minutes – 35 minutes 
Above 6,000 ft – 35 minutes – 40 minutes 
Syrup Recipes
  • Sugar water – 3-4 Tablespoons sugar dissolved in 1 quart water. 
  • Lemon water-  1/2 cup lemon juice dissolved in 1 quart of water. (this is what I usually do)
  • Ascorbic Acid (aka Fruit Fresh) comes as a white powder. Follow the directions on the package. 
  • Salt water – 2 teaspoons salt dissolved in one quart water.  (My new favorite for apples, haven’t tried it with pears yet. )
Adapted from: The National Center for Home Food Preservation
Servings: 2 -3 pounds of pears per quart
Pear Butter Recipe

What else can you do with Pears?

How about this Pear Butter Recipe

This is an easy Crockpot method for making Pear Butter. A bit of orange and nutmeg in this pear butter recipe makes it delicious.

Canning Applesauce

Canning Applesauce

Canning applesauce doesn’t have to be boring or complicated! Learn the safe, easy way to make your own homemade, healthy applesauce recipe using no sugar and a water bath canner.

Pin This to find Later!

Canning Pears

Source: The National Center for Home Food Preservation

Page last updated: 7/9/2021

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1 year ago

Is there anything different to do with keiffer pears-? My husband will only eat them canned and I have a bumper crop!

Karen Hamilton
Karen Hamilton
1 year ago

5 stars
Awesomeness!! I just picked out fruit from the Mt Hood Parkdale and Hood River area as well since that’s where I’ve lived for the last 33 yrs.
Thankyou for the recipe!