My husband’s grandfather’s farm had a massive pear tree and one of the first times we went to visit, we picked a few 10-gallon buckets-worth of pears and brought them home for his mom to make her famous pear preserves.
I remember she gave us a few jars of some that she had made the previous year and I loved them. (I literally would eat them straight out of the jar with a spoon.) However, I never had a clue how much love went into making the preserves and now that her father is no longer with us, and the family no longer has the farm, how sentimental and special those last few unopened jars on her shelf are to the family.
Updating Original Flavors
Fast-forward to today and one of the first recipes I thought about sharing when I joined the Kitchen Council for Stemilt was my mother-in-law’s pear preserves. While my recipe follows some of her tricks, I’ve discovered a few of my own and added a little bit of a flavor twist to the recipe.
The key to this recipe is using a 3:1 ratio of pears to sugar. I’ve noted my exact measurements but the recipe can easily be doubled, tripled, etc. Note that increasing the volume of preserves will likely increase the cook time.
It is also important to use ripe pears, and Stemilt Bartlett pears are a great choice. The best way to determine when they are ripe is the color change from green to yellow. The more yellow they are the riper they will be, so pick fruit that meets your timeline needs.
Once you make your preserves, don’t forget to share the love! A jar wrapped with ribbon or raffia and tucked into a basket with biscuits, gingersnaps, or cheese make a lovely holiday or housewarming gift.
- 10 medium Bartlett pears, peeled, cored and roughly chopped
- 3 1/3 cups sugar
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 2 tsp vanilla extract (or 1 vanilla bean)
- 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
- 5 (8-ounce) half pint canning jars with lids and rings
The perfect spread for biscuits, gingersnaps, or cheese, these Cinnamon Pear Preserves make a lovely holiday or housewarming gift.
- Wash, peel, and roughly chop pears. As you’re chopping the pears, keep a large bowl filled with water and lemon juice or fruit fresh to the side so that you can immediately add the pears. (This will keep the fruit from browning as you continue to peel and chop.)
- Once you’ve prepared all of your fruit, drain the pears and measure them by the cup-full directly into a heavy-bottom pot. Use the 3:1 ratio so for every 3 cups of pears you add 1 cup of sugar.
- Add cinnamon and vanilla to the pears and stir until blended. Cover with a lid and let stand (on the countertop) overnight.
- When you’re ready to cook the pear mixture, stir in the lemon juice and bring the mixture to a boil. Do not cover the pot because you will want the steam/moisture to be released.
- Reduce the heat to medium and allow the pears to lightly boil for 1 1/2 to 4 hours or until reduced and consistency is thicker than applesauce. Make sure to stir often to prevent the preserves from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
- During the last 15-20 minutes of cooking, warm clean jars and lids in the oven at 225 degrees F for 10 minutes to sterilize.
- Ladle hot Cinnamon Pear Preserves into hot jars leaving ¼-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles.
- Wipe rim with a clean cloth. Center the lid on the jars and apply the band until it is fingertip tight. (AKA use your hands to tighten and not a special tightening device.)
- Process jars by boiling in water for 10 minutes. Jars must be covered with at least 1 inch of water.
- Remove jars and cool. Check lids for seal after 24 hours. Lids should not flex up and down when the center is pressed.
- The cook time will vary based on the amount of pears you have, how ripe they were before cooking, etc. It took my 10 cups of ripe pears 2 hours to cook. In hindsight, I probably could have let them go another hour.
- The Ball website says that it is no longer necessary to sterilize jars and lids before adding the preserves since they will sterilize during the last step of preserving. However, if you choose to forego the last step and eat your preserves immediately then step 6 isn’t necessary. Since the jars need to be warm anyways to keep them from cracking when the hot preserves are added, I figured it doesn’t hurt to sterilize them ahead (just in case…).
- Calories: 188
- Fat Content: 0.2g
- Cholesterol Content: 0mg
- Sodium Content: 2mg
- Carbohydrate Content: 49.6g
- Fiber Content: 3.4g
- Sugar Content: 43.7g
- Protein Content: 0.4g