Naturally sweet and low-calorie fruit, fresh pears are a wonderful staple to preserve and keep on hand as part of a wholesome diet. The best start for preserving pears is to pick the fruit from the tree in a slightly mature state and allow them to ripen on your counter until they give slightly when you push on the flesh around the stem. This is the perfect state to begin preserving your pears.
Following safe canning practices, pears can be canned in a light or heavy syrup for future use. Peel, core and quarter your pears and place them in a large bowl with the juice of a lemon to keep them from browning while you work with them. Make a simple sugar syrup of 2 cups sugar with 4 cups water simmered to a boil and boil the peeled pears for a few minutes. Then place the pears in hot, sterile canning jars and lids, completely covered with the syrup. Tightly lid the jars and let cool upside down on your counter for about 15 minutes to finish.
Pickling pairs with white vinegar is similar to canning them. However, adding cinnamon, allspice and cloves, as desired, cuts the vinegar and creates unique pickled fruit preserve. Peel, core and quarter 2 quarts of pears and then cover and boil them for 10 minutes in one-half pint of water. Add 1 tbsp. of your desired spices with 1/2 quart vinegar and simmer covered for 30 minutes. Pack pears in hot, sterile canning jars and lids, covered with the left-over liquid and then cap tightly to finish.
Wash, peel and core pears and then cut them into one-quarter inch slices. Soak the slices in a solution of 1 tbsp. lemon juice with 1 cup water for 2 minutes. Drain and arrange pear slices on a cookie sheet. Place your pairs in the oven at 100 degrees Fahrenheit and dry for about 10 hours. For the right texture, the pears should be slightly pliable. Store them in a dry, airtight container in a cool, dark location. Dried pears can be a snack, in a natural trail mix or in other recipes, as desired.
Although most people prefer fresh preserves, you can also freeze pears for future consumption. Peel, core and slice your pears, cover them in water and boil for 2 minutes. Drain and cool the fruit and then pack them into a freezer-safe container and cover with the same simple syrup used in the canning process. When you remove them from the freezer, serve when ice crystals are slightly present for a cool, refreshing treat.
References and ResourcesLSU Ag Center: Ways with Pears
ResourcesPick Your Own.org: How to Can Anything
How to Garden Advice.com: Dehydrating Fruit from the Garden, How to Dry Fruit