I just finished canning 40 quarts of the most delicious pears ever! I’m so excited about this recipe that I just had to take a few minutes to sit down and start writing this up so I can share my recipe for canning pears in cinnamon vanilla syrup. Yum!
This year we had an epic harvest from our pear tree. We’re estimating we harvested close to 300 pounds of pears just from this one tree! We have a Seckel pear tree, which is a variety that produces tiny, sweet pears. Initially I was pretty overwhelmed with the amount of pears we harvested.
Growing up my mom would can pears by skinning them, slicing them in half, scooping out the seeds and canning them in a plain simple syrup. Well the idea of trying to skin, slice and de-seed a gazillion tiny pears (we’re talking about 2″ tall) sounded insane to me.
So I started giving them away. Then someone shared a recipe with me and it mentioned canning Seckel pears whole. Brilliant! So I got out my canning supplies and got to work. The first dozen qaurts I canned were done in just a plain simple syrup. As I was canning them, I started thinking about this recipe I read recently for cinnamon vanilla spiced pear butter. It sounded so delicious so I figured I would try it for my canned pears. I started with just half a dozen jars to make sure I liked it. Oh. my. goodness. It is divine! The light hint of cinnamon and vanilla in the syrup makes these canned pears so much more tasty. Plus, we’re already brainstorming all the ways we can use the delicious syrup once we eat the pears:
- On top of homemade vanilla ice cream
- On top of pancakes
- Added flavoring for a smoothie
- Added flavoring for my tea, chai or coffee
- Used as flavoring in a mixed adult beverage
The base recipe I used is a tested and approved pear canning recipe from the Ball website. Then I added my twist with the flavorings. Because our Seckel pears are already a sweet variety of fruit, I also made a very light simple syrup. instead of just the “light”. It is still sweet, but not overly so. Figure out which type of syrup you want to use based on how sweet (or not) your pears are.
As I was canning pears, I was giddy with excitement. Partly because I had found an easy way to can and preserve our pears instead of having to give them all away. And partly because I kept thinking about how amazing it will be a few months from now when it is dumping snow outside and we can go to our pantry, open up a jar of our homemade canned pears and enjoy the fruits of our labor. Now THAT is satisfaction!
We normally use honey to sweeten recipes instead of using sugar but did not in this recipe. Why? When we harvested honey from our beehives last month, we only were able to harvest 27 pounds of honey. Cooking raw honey at a high heat when canning would cause it to lose a lot of the health benefits. Instead we decided to keep our nutritious honey to eat raw and sweeten our simple syrup with sugar instead.
Recipe for Canning Pears in Cinnamon Vanilla Syrup
This recipe works for any type of pear you want to can. If using small Seckel pears like we did, there is less work since you leave them whole to can them. If using large pears you will need to peel, core and cut them in half. To prevent browning after peeling the pears, soak them in a mixture of 1/4 cup lemon juice and 4 cups water until ready to put into the simple syrup.
This recipe makes about four quarts. We canned 40 quarts of pears so just think how many times we had to double this recipe!
-40-50 small Seckle pears OR 8-12 larger variety of pears
-1 3/4 cup-3 1/4 cups unrefined sugar (this is the kind we use since they sell it at the discount Amish market)
-2 cinnamon sticks
-1/2 TBS vanilla extract (here’s our recipe to make homemade vanilla extract)
-5 cups water
1. Make a simple syrup by mixing sugar and 5 cups of water in a large stainless steel pot. We prefer an extra light syrup since our pears are already sweet. We used 1 3/4 cups sugar mixed with 5 cups of water. Add sugar to your desired sweetness. Bring the mixture to a boil then reduce the heat to medium. Stir until sugar dissolves.
2. Add two cinnamon sticks and the 1/2 TBS vanilla extract to the simple syrup. Simmer on low for 10-15 minutes.
3. Add the pears to the simple syrup and warm them by continuing to simmer the mixture for another five minutes. Then remove the cinnamon sticks.
4. Using a slotted spoon and a canning funnel, scoop the pears into hot glass canning jars leaving about an inch of headspace. If canning Seckel pears, give the jar a little shake to help settle the pears down into the jar. If canning large halved pears, pack the pears with the inner cavity facing down.
5. Using a ladle, fill the jars with the simple syrup. Leave about 1/2″ headspace.
6. Wipe the jar rims clean and put on a canning lid and ring until finger tight. Process the quarts in a boiling water canner for 25 minutes but be sure to adjust the time for your altitude using this handy chart!
7. When done processing, remove the jars from the water canner and allow to cool. Wait for the glorious “ping” which is music to every canner’s ears and lets you know your jar has sealed. If your lid did not seal (we only had 1 in 40 that did not seal), store it in the refrigerator and enjoy!
Canning pears will provide us with homegrown, organic fruit to eat all year long. When eating the canned Seckel pears, I just eat it like I would eat a whole apple. Little A likes to have the pear cut in quarters which is easier for her to eat. With 40 quarts of canned pears in our pantry, we should have enough pears to last us until next pear season. I’m especially excited since I won’t have to buy pears at the grocery store which are a bit pricey in the off season!
What’s your favorite way to preserve or prepare pears?