Appalachian Food Preserving/Canning

How To Make Old Timey Pear Preserves


Since my sink has recently been full of pears-I thought it was a great time to republish one of my old posts: Granny’s Pear Preserves.

Portions of this post were originally published here on the Blind Pig & the Acorn in October of 2008.

———————

Granny’s Pear Preserves recipe has been handed down through her family for over 4 generations. I like it-because the preserves are tasty-and so easy to make.

How to make pear preserves
Peel, core, and quarter your pears. Slice the quarters into slivers.


Place slivers in bowl, pour sugar over, stir, cover, and let sit overnight in the frig (use 1 1/2 cups sugar for every 2 quarts of pears-you can use more or less sugar to taste).


After sitting over night-cook pears slowly on medium heat until the juice has thickened. While sitting over night-the pears will have made a little juice (the amount depends on how ripe your pears are) you may need to add additional water to the pears prior to cooking to keep them from sticking/scorching.

At this point-we have our jars sterilized and hot. We ladle the hot pears into the hot jars and seal with a hot lid and ring. As the jars cool they seal. This is called the open kettle method of canning.

ALL canning references will tell you NOT to do it this way-that it is dangerous. We feel comfortable doing it the old time way-because its always worked for us. But I totally get it if you’re not o.k. with it. If you’d rather-ladle hot pears into sterilized jars-add tap and ring-and process at least 15 minutes in a boiling water canner.


Pear preserves are great over biscuits, warmed up and served as a side-dish, or straight out of the jar-that’s how Chitter and Chatter like them. It makes me happy to know I’m at least the 4th generation of my family using this pear preserves recipe. It also makes me happy to open a jar on a cold winter day and eat them.

———————

Even though this post was originally published in 2008, every once in a while someone will stumble onto it and send me a question about it. A few weeks ago a lady sent me an email about the preserves. She was hunting a pear preserves recipe that tasted like her Mother-n-Law’s-who was no longer living. A few weeks after I answered her question I got another message from her. This quote came from the 2nd email:

He almost got tears in his eyes when he tasted the preserves and said, ” Them taste like my Momma’s.” It made me so happy, and thankful!”

Yep that made me pretty happy too.

Tipper

 

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68 Comments

  • Reply
    Lynda
    September 26, 2019 at 12:55 pm

    This is EXACTLY how my grandmother made them. I am 75 and still making them this way. Try pear preserves with a good brie. Bottom layer of brie, pear preserves, then layer of brie. Can saute pecans in real maple syrup and put on top. Bake until brie is soft and serve. Crackers or small toasts.

  • Reply
    Jamesa Hopson, Adams, Tennessee
    August 24, 2019 at 9:24 am

    This pear preserve recipe is the only one worth making of you ask me. I’ve made it several times and everyone that eats it says it’s just like their grandma used to make. I think I’ve even made a few enemies with the older ladies at church because one fella told his wife to just give her pears to me and let me make their preserves. Thank you for posted it. I found it about eight years ago and it’s simply perfect.

  • Reply
    Don Davidson
    September 21, 2018 at 8:52 am

    My grandma never made pear preserves that I know of, but she did make pear butter and that was good. She also made apple and peach butters too. But my favorite was when she would mix three cooked butters together and then can it. That was some good eating! Us kids put these butters on everything. My older sister especially loved apple butter on waffles.

  • Reply
    Martha Carnes
    August 27, 2018 at 9:34 am

    I have some pears that are smisoft and I have some just picked they are like hard as rocks I’m wondering if I could go ahead a make preserve now instead of waiting.please tell how ripe they should be.Because I’m never sure.

    • Reply
      tipper
      September 2, 2018 at 11:29 am

      Martha-sorry for my delay in answering!! I’m sure you’ve already made your decision and moved forward, but for future reference, I like for the pears to be on the hard side because they hold up better to the cooking process.

  • Reply
    Alex McLeod
    July 31, 2018 at 7:41 pm

    Do you add anything to the pears to keep them from turning dark before cooking?

    • Reply
      tipper
      August 1, 2018 at 4:30 pm

      Alex-no I’ve never added anything. The riper the pears are the more brown they seem to turn, but they still taste good 🙂

  • Reply
    Tipper
    September 27, 2017 at 3:50 pm

    Larry-thank you for the comment! I don’t know about that type of pear-but if it was me I’d try it in the preserves. Maybe someone who knows will chime in with an answer. 

  • Reply
    Larry
    September 21, 2017 at 11:39 pm

    Does the Bosc pear make good preserves?

  • Reply
    Tipper
    September 8, 2017 at 9:45 am

    Sharon-the pears in this recipe are really soft. I bet your mommas were really good!

  • Reply
    Sharon
    September 8, 2017 at 12:02 am

    Will the pears be chewy or soft with this recipe? My mom made pear preserves and the pears were chewy. I wish I had written down her recipe and instructions. She is in Heaven now.

  • Reply
    Susie Mclemore
    August 10, 2017 at 1:31 am

    . It has been a long since I made preserves. almost forgot how .I was looking for the length of time to cook the pears, I just cooked them until the turned golden they have always turned out find, until the last bast, they all turn to sugar Now I know to only cook them for 20-30 minutes. thanks. Also I have never added corn-syrup I will try it. I also use cloves during the cooking process this time hope they turn out find. Thanks for the tip on the cooking time

  • Reply
    Tipper
    October 4, 2016 at 12:26 pm

    Leanne-yes you are correct. No sure jel or pectin in this recipe : )

  • Reply
    Leanne Motes
    October 4, 2016 at 9:52 am

    Do I understand this right? You are not using sure gel or pectin in this recipe? Only the sugar?

  • Reply
    Sherrie Crowell
    August 23, 2016 at 11:01 am

    I had a beautiful old pear tree in my back yard that was probably close to 75 years old and had pears to give away every year after I made the open kettle preserves, the only way I’ve known since my grandmother and continue to use. But almost 3 yrs ago a bad storm/tornado winds took it down. Thanks for sharing a great recipe that is how we country folks in S. TN always done ours. I have a friend giving me some so I can continue to make this wonderful treat.

  • Reply
    Judith
    January 19, 2016 at 6:39 pm

    I found this recipe several years ago, lost it, and found it again today (whew).
    Several years ago I went looking for a way to replicate my grandma’s pear and clove preserves. Grandma’s personal twist was to put 3 or 4 cloves into each jar. My sisters and I used to fight over the cloves. I get a high syrup to fruit ratio which makes a piece of toast with just a glaze of clove perfumed pear “honey” a wonderful breakfast treat.

  • Reply
    Tipper
    September 15, 2015 at 4:25 pm

    Rebecca-I would guess one run of the recipe would make 6 to 8 half pints? I’m sorry that I’ve never counted them! I usually have more pears than one run and sometimes use pint jars and sometimes half pints so I just fill them till the pears are gone LOL : ) Not very precise am I!
    Hope this helps!
    Tipper
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Celebrating and Preserving the
    Culture of Appalachia
    http://www.blindpigandtheacorn.com

  • Reply
    Rebecca Sorensen
    September 15, 2015 at 3:31 pm

    How many half-pints will this recipe for pear preserves make? If the recipe showed this info, I overlooked it.
    My neighbor gave me a LOT of pears & I want to make preserves. Your recipe sounds great.
    Thank you.

  • Reply
    Tipper
    September 10, 2015 at 11:44 am

    Faye-thank you for the comment! I think it would be ok to store them for a week or so-but I wouldn’t let them get to soft. I’ve found firmer pears work better in the pear preserve recipe.
    Tipper
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Celebrating and Preserving the
    Culture of Appalachia
    http://www.blindpigandtheacorn.com

  • Reply
    Faye Eysvogel
    September 8, 2015 at 6:19 pm

    I read where kiefer pears have to be stored 3-5 weeks after picking before using . We were given about 10 lbs pears today wanted to use your recipe to make preserves . But now not sure what kind we got, kinda look like kiefers. She said the trees were real old and was on her grandfathers land. They are hard, should we store before using them?

  • Reply
    Tipper
    August 3, 2015 at 11:11 am

    Daniel-thank you for the comment. Cook the pears approximately 25-30 minutes at a slow simmer. Just be sure to keep an eye on them to make sure they don’t scorch.
    Have a good week : )
    Tipper
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Celebrating and Preserving the
    Culture of Appalachia
    http://www.blindpigandtheacorn.com

  • Reply
    daniel
    August 2, 2015 at 10:20 am

    How long does it take for juice to get thick when boling

  • Reply
    Elizabeth W.
    April 25, 2015 at 8:04 pm

    Adding a Tablespoon of light corn syrup for each cup of apples will help prevent the syrup from crystallizing. My Granny’s recipe calls for 1/2 cup of sugar + 1 Tbsp of corn syrup to each cup of pears. Add the corn syrup when you start the actual cooking process. Hope that helps.

  • Reply
    Tipper
    December 10, 2014 at 9:35 am

    Sue-I think any of the trees on this page would be great: The Heirloom Orchardist: http://www.heirloomorchardist.com/the_heirloom_orchardist/the-heirloom-orchardists-.html
    You might want to call your local county extension office or even a local nursery to ask what type of pear tree would grow best in your area before buying one.
    Have a great day!
    Tipper
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Celebrating and Preserving the
    Culture of Appalachia
    http://www.blindpigandtheacorn.com

  • Reply
    sue
    December 10, 2014 at 9:09 am

    I know that the pear should be firm to make pear preserves but I should have ask what kind of pear tree should I buy that would have firm pears for preserves? I want to grow my own pears.

  • Reply
    Tipper
    December 8, 2014 at 6:44 pm

    Sue-a firm pear works best-doesn’t really matter what variety as long as its firm. Thank you for the comment!
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Celebrating and Preserving the
    Culture of Appalachia
    http://www.blindpigandtheacorn.com

  • Reply
    sue
    December 8, 2014 at 8:43 am

    What kind of pears to use for preserves

  • Reply
    Tipper
    October 1, 2014 at 4:29 pm

    Linda-thanks for the comment! I’ve never added the spices before-but it sounds like it would be good : )
    Tipper
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Celebrating and Preserving
    the
    Culture of Appalachia
    http://www.blindpigandtheacorn.com

  • Reply
    Linda Dean
    October 1, 2014 at 2:22 pm

    hi love this recipe can I add allspice and nutmeg to it?

  • Reply
    Bonnie
    September 4, 2014 at 11:38 am

    Love your post. I stumbled upon it while looking for a reminder of how to keep pears from turning dark after peeling while waiting to cook them.
    Be blessed

  • Reply
    Tipper
    December 9, 2013 at 9:18 am

    Brenda-YIKES! I’m sorry to hear your pears didn’t turn out well. I’ve never had that happen so I’m not sure what you could do to fix it. Before I threw them out-I would try taking the pears out of one jar and heating them in a saucepan with a little water. If they loosen up and return to a more preserves like state I might try emptying all the jars and adding water-then redoing the process of putting the mixture in the jars. Or you might be able to use the sugared pears in cooking-by adding the pears to sauces or breads.
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Celebrating and Preserving the
    Culture of Appalachia
    http://www.blindpigandtheacorn.com

  • Reply
    Brenda Jackson
    December 8, 2013 at 9:55 pm

    Mine turned to sugar after they cooled in the jars. I guess I cooked them too long. Is there anything I can do to salvage them. So much work – I don’t want to throw them out. Help

  • Reply
    E. Tyler
    October 5, 2013 at 8:38 pm

    How ripe should the pears be for perserves? I picked some today and they are very hard. Should I use as they are or wait until they get softer? Thank you!

  • Reply
    Tipper
    September 12, 2013 at 9:44 am

    Kristie-I would try to can them anyway. They might be a little dark but hopefully they’ll still taste good. I would give it a try to keep from throwing them out.
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Celebrating and Preserving the
    Culture of Appalachia
    http://www.blindpigandtheacorn.com

  • Reply
    kristie wray
    September 11, 2013 at 5:47 pm

    if my pears sat for 2 nights, and are turning brown, can i save them?….

  • Reply
    PatsyAnne
    October 9, 2012 at 9:53 am

    well I lived many Years amongest yawl and couldn’t remember exactly how this was done but I knew it wasent that complicated so in My searching I found you ..I am in The city of Jacksonville Fla now so this will be enjoyed by many here in the city ..oh my Kids went to school at Tallulah Falls right across from Rabun Gap and I have got some of the org Fox Fire Books !!
    hugs & Prayers

  • Reply
    Tipper
    August 10, 2012 at 1:06 pm

    So glad you liked the recipe!!
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Celebrating and Preserving the
    Culture of Appalachia
    http://www.blindpigandtheacorn.com

  • Reply
    Biz1977
    August 10, 2012 at 1:30 am

    Made your preserves today! We received a gift of 25 pounds of pears. Im not a pear fan, but this recipe has me eating the preserves.. very easy and I tried your open kettle method. Sealed like a charm. AMAZING> Thank you!!

  • Reply
    Tipper
    October 31, 2011 at 10:56 am

    June-Good to hear from you! Sorry about the sugar pears preserves. I really don’t know how you could fix them-but maybe someone else on my site will chime in with an idea.
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Celebrating and Preserving the
    Culture of Appalachia
    http://www.blindpigandtheacorn.com

  • Reply
    June in Miss
    October 30, 2011 at 5:52 pm

    I wish I had found your blog a couple of weeks ago. I was given some country pears and tried to fix them as my mom did. I like them sort of candied, and I guessed at the amount of sugar and ended up with great tasting, chewey, pear preserves that are now turning to sugar.
    Do you have any suggestions as to how I may be able to reverse this. Now that I have your recipe, this won’t be a problem.
    Thanks for any information anyone can provide.

  • Reply
    Joe Walker
    October 6, 2011 at 4:26 pm

    Thanks Tipper for the pear preserves recipe. Since I lost my source for cooking and canning information when my sister passed last year I was very excited to find this page. A fond family memory was my brother and I getting instructions from our sister for a cobbler via phone many miles away. I am in the process of the preserves (yours is very simular to my memory of my mothers) and can’t wait for the biscuits and preserves soon. %Thanks
    Joe

  • Reply
    Judi Dowlearn Alef
    September 19, 2011 at 9:55 pm

    Tipper! It’s been awhile but I knew if I needed a good recipe I could find it here. Tomorrow is dedicated to your granny and pears.
    I was also thrilled to see the sorghum. My Aunt Odiel in Lottie LA and my cousins boiled the syrup down in the front yard. My grandaddy poured it over his peas. To each his own, ya know. Blessings to you and family

  • Reply
    Rosann Kent
    September 15, 2011 at 10:12 pm

    This post made me laugh as I thought of a very prolific pear tree of my childhood. One year, the fruit was so bountiful that, after we used up all the jars, we made pear pies and put them in the freezer!

  • Reply
    Becky
    September 14, 2011 at 9:02 pm

    It’s so nice when someone lets you know that they have used one of your ideas and loved it. It really makes blogging worth the while. 🙂

  • Reply
    Laura Cunningham
    September 14, 2011 at 6:24 pm

    Last summer was the first summer in our house (north of Dallas) and I quickly discovered with 3 large pear trees I had to do something with them. I was VERY overwhelmed with our bumper crop of pears. Last summer I enjoyed making preserves and sharing them with my family. I used your recipe for preserves again and am now on my 3 batch of preserves this summer. Thanks for the easy and tasty recipe!

  • Reply
    Judy
    September 13, 2011 at 1:07 pm

    This actually made my mouth water. I used to make pear preserves years ago and I love them. Yours are just beautiful.

  • Reply
    Tipper
    September 13, 2011 at 6:15 am

    Glenda-I’m sure you could make it!! I’m lucky-I have a friend and an Uncle who have pear trees. You might find local pears at one of the fruit stands.
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Celebrating and Preserving the
    Culture of Appalachia
    http://www.blindpigandtheacorn.com

  • Reply
    Glenda Beall
    September 12, 2011 at 10:59 pm

    Pear preserves are close to my favorite perserves. I still like fig preserves best. My mother made both. Do you think I could make this recipe? I think I’d like to try it.
    Do you buy local pears?

  • Reply
    Suzi Phillips
    September 12, 2011 at 10:31 pm

    I have been craving pear preserves for months!! I have bought “homemade” preserves & pear marmalade that just weren’t what I was looking for, so now I’m betting your recipe is. Can’t wait to try it.

  • Reply
    Stacy Guidice
    September 12, 2011 at 7:46 pm

    Tipper:
    We just made my grandmother’s pear preserves – twice it was so good! A little big different recipe, but similar. Yum! I am looking for things to eat with my pear preserves! Love it!

  • Reply
    Sassy
    September 12, 2011 at 7:10 pm

    Never had pear preserves, it sounds tasty and especially w biscuits. I would like to try your way of canning them. I may need more expert advice from you Tipper.

  • Reply
    Charlotte
    September 12, 2011 at 6:55 pm

    Oh, there’s nothing more tasty than pear preserves! I could eat them like candy! We make them in a similar fashion, minus the over-night soaking. But alas! we have no pears!

  • Reply
    Melissa P (Misplaced Southerner)
    September 12, 2011 at 1:53 pm

    I am definitely going to have to give these a try. I love everything pear, so this will be a nice change from apples.
    Tipper, you’ve been so nice about allowing me to share my blog with your subscribers. Here’s another one! It’s about Boojum – western North Carolina’s “Bigfoot.” I wonder how many of your readers have heard of him.
    http://colmel.wordpress.com/2011/09/12/another-appalachian-tale-%e2%80%93-boojum-the-mystery-on-eagle%e2%80%99s-nest-mountain/

  • Reply
    Ken
    September 12, 2011 at 1:18 pm

    Tipper,
    You’re so talented and thanks for
    showing us how to fix so many
    different things. I think I figured out how we got so much
    stuff canned every year, daddy had
    6 boys and all of us had to help
    him and mama get things prepared
    for the coming winters. But boy we
    sure appreciated a big breakfast
    when the snow started a falling.
    …Ken

  • Reply
    Julie at Elisharose
    September 12, 2011 at 12:59 pm

    I love pear preserves and haven’t had any in years. My grandmother used to make them. And pear cobbler. Mmmm.

  • Reply
    Mary Jane
    September 12, 2011 at 12:32 pm

    I make pear preserves, peach preserves, and fig preserves…all much like this, but we like a very thinly-sliced lemon added to it when you put them on to cook. It should be rind and all, paper-thin. We fuss over the lemon! I do not process them, but I’m careful to sterize the jars. My daughter usually finds somebody who has more pears than they want and gives me some…we like the hard Keiffer ones. They also make outstanding pies…better than apple.

  • Reply
    Janet Smart
    September 12, 2011 at 11:18 am

    I have been peeling and cutting pears for the past hour or so. I think we are going to can these, maybe I will make the preserves with the next bunch I pick.

  • Reply
    Cee
    September 12, 2011 at 10:00 am

    We have a pear tree in the yard and last year we had an abundance of pears. I had seen your recipe earlier this year and was looking forward to trying it. The tree was loaded with pears this summer but unfortunately something happened, the pears turned black and fell off. I am not sure what happened. Hopefully they will do better next year.

  • Reply
    Canned Quilter
    September 12, 2011 at 9:58 am

    Yumm this is how my mother and grandmother made pear preserves also!
    We had three pear trees on our farm and these were great with biscuits. My mom made fig preserves this way also. They were unbelievable : )I have a bushel of late peaches to deal with today….

  • Reply
    sandra
    September 12, 2011 at 9:43 am

    in Savannah, my parents had friends who had 3 pear trees, just like the ones in your picture. each year we went to their house and picked buckets of them, then I had to peel them (felt abused)and mother canned preserves. don’t remember if she did it this way or boiled them in the canner. she had a gas stove outside on the carport and there was always something in that canner.

  • Reply
    dolores
    September 12, 2011 at 9:13 am

    Just imagine having a pear pie (with an apple) in the midst of winter. Yummy!

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    September 12, 2011 at 8:53 am

    Tipper, your blog has become a living breathing reference resource. Sometimes I think of something you’ve posted, like the best ever dumplings,and say to myself…now where was that? I need to make it again.
    Like you I have had lots of pears to deal with this summer. Last year I made some Pear Jam with a little Key Lime juice plus rind and some of Grannies Pear Preserves.
    This year I’ve made Pear Sauce (like apple sauce but with pears), pear/peach/blueberry juice and with the Asian Pears I’ve made a pickled relish and a sweet/hot relish.
    I have great fun with it! None of these are recipes, just things I make as the fancy strikes me. LOL
    Thank you for being there for us!

  • Reply
    kat
    September 12, 2011 at 8:30 am

    Wish i had a jar and a pan of hot biscuits right now. Mama used to make the best and i still don’t know exactly how she did hers. I agree that your way works just fine.

  • Reply
    Cyndi
    September 12, 2011 at 8:22 am

    MY other made the nest pear preserves and what memories. I will ask her about them and make some for us also.
    Thanks Tipper!
    Smiles, Cyndi

  • Reply
    Mary
    September 12, 2011 at 8:20 am

    I was ‘gifted’ with some pears recently. They did not have a lot of flavor, so I mixed some crushed pineapple with them. That seemed to enhance the pears delicate flavor. Made an excellent cobbler!I still have some pears to use up. Will be trying this recipe.
    As always thanks, Tipper!

  • Reply
    Wanda in NoAla
    September 12, 2011 at 8:20 am

    I had never eaten pear preserves until I got married and my mother-in-law made some. Been in love with them since. I experimented with some pear honey this year, and it is really good, too.

  • Reply
    B. Ruth
    September 12, 2011 at 7:59 am

    Tipper,
    Those preserves look so good as well as the yellow ripe pears….By the time my parents pears would get that ripe and fall, you had to fight the yellow jackets (waspers) for them! Lots of times we picked them green, wrapped each one in a piece of brown paper poke, put them under the bed in a box to let’em ripen..and eat’em later…ha
    Would love to have a jar of Grannys preserves this morning for breakfast…
    The passing down of good, old family recipes keeps them alive in our memories.
    Thanks Tipper for another great post…

  • Reply
    Debby Brown
    September 12, 2011 at 7:22 am

    YOU make me so hungry!! I want some buttered biscuits and some of that pear preserves
    right now!

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