I’m a lazy canner you guys…
I adore canning and especially love surveying the pretty rows of brightly colored jars when I’m finished, but you can bet that if I can safely take a “shortcut,” I will.
Take my home-canned applesauce for example. The vast majority of applesauce recipes insist you peel the apples first. But if you’re me, you simply quarter them, core them, and toss them in the pot, peels and all. (And if you have a food mill, it gets even easier!)
When I decided to can pears last weekend, I was slightly dismayed to find that all the recipes called for peeling (not an easy task with a slippery, slimy pear) and then batch-cooking the fruit in heavy sugar syrups.
This was not fitting with my
lazy highly-efficient style of canning…
So I decided to make some adjustments. Now, generally, canning recipes are NOT something you want to adjust too much, as usually the “rules” are in place to keep the food safe to eat (for example–getting rebellious and canning low-acid food in a water bath canner instead of a pressure canner is a BAD idea).
However, after a little research I determined the edits I wanted to make would still allow me to produce SAFE canned pears with a bit less work. Score!
You’ll find two main changes in this canned pears recipe:
1) I did not peel my pears. Most people choose to peel them to avoid the grainy texture, but honestly, this doesn’t bother me too much. You can definitely still peel them if you like, or you can just be lazy like me and leave them intact.
2) I did not use sugar. At all. In many canning recipes, sugar acts as a preserving agent, however in canning peaches and pears, it is just for sweetness, which allows us to safely omit it. You can use honey if you like, but my pears were delectably sweet already, so I didn’t want to muddy the crisp pear flavor.
How to Can Pears Without Sugar
You Will Need:
- Firm, ripe pears (it generally takes 2-3 lbs of pears to fill one quart jar)
- Lemon juice (for pretreatment– optional)
Wash the pears and halve or quarter them. Remove spoiled spots. (You can peel them if you wish, but I didn’t!)
Allow the pears to soak for 2-3 minutes in a lemon juice bath. This helps to prevent discoloration. I mixed roughly 1/2 cup of lemon juice with 1 gallon of water, and then briefly washed/dipped the pears in the solution. (It definitely worked too! My pears didn’t discolor one bit).
Pack the pears into hot, sterilized jars.
Cover the pears with boiling water, leaving 1/2-inch headspace.
(If you are new to canning, here is my complete water bath canning tutorial)
Process in a boiling water canner: 25 minutes for pints, 30 minutes for quarts.
Canning Pears Recipe Notes:
- If you would like to sweeten up your pears a bit, you can add honey to your boiling water mixture. You’ll need to play around with the amounts, depending on how many pears you are canning and how sweet you’d like them to be.
- Avoid mushy, over-ripe pears for this recipe. Firm, ripe ones are the best.
- If you aren’t going to peel your pears, I suggest selecting organic varieties, as the peel often holds many of the icky chemicals.
- Looking to can peaches without sugar too? Try my Honey Cinnamon Canned Peaches.
- If you don’t want to can whole pears, try making pearsauce instead.
- Why cold-pack instead of hot-pack? Many canned pear recipes call for you to cook the pears first. Although this is the method most often recommended, I found that many folks like to simply cold-pack their pears as well. The benefits of cold-packing are less mushy fruit and less work, although some folks complain that cold-packed pears are prone to shrink a bit after you jar them and float to the top. That doesn’t bother me much, but if you are concerned, simply cook your pears for 5 minutes in the boiling water before you place them in the jars. Proceed to fill the jars with the hot cooking liquid, and voila! You’ll have hot-packed pears.
- Does canning totally stress you out? Trust me, I have totally been there! Here are my best tips for no-stress canning.
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