Preserving (bottling) Pears

Here it is autumn and I’m wondering where summer actually was.  Never mind, there still seemed to be an abundance of fruit which is ongoing – we still have plenty of plums and quinces that are ripening all over the countryside – down hidden laneways, out in paddocks, often with fruit falling to the ground for the heavily laden branches.  People who own the trees are generally very generous with the excess fruit so I’m soon to head to the stove to make this year’s quince jelly and quince cheese from a boxful I was given a couple of days ago.

However, in the meantime there seems to be an abundance of pears about.  I love to pickle and spice them such as  I have written about in an earlier post, but many people have asked about preserving (bottling) them, so this post deals with the process for doing so.  I love preserved pears for breakfast with cereal and yoghurt, for dessert with custard or ice cream or in a pear tart (with caramel sauce).

Pears can tend to discolour once they are peeled and cored and waiting to go into the bottles.  You can help prevent this by soaking them in water that has a little lemon juice added.  Try using 2 tablespoons lemon juice per litre of water.  I find the best way to avoid this discolouration is to fill one jar at a time with the pears, covering them immediately with the preserving syrup.  I then don’t need to bother with the lemon juice/water soaking.

Here is the method for actually preserving them:

  •  Peel and core the pears, then cut in half lengthways
  • Place rings on clean preserving jars
  • Choose and make the selected preserving syrup (see below), adding 1 teaspoon citric acid to every 8 cups of preserving liquid
  • Layer the pear halves neatly and firmly in bottles
  • Pour the preserving liquid over the pears right to the brim
  • Place lids on jars and secure with clips, or if using screw top jars, screw lids on, then release half a turn
  • Place in preserving outfit and fill the preserver with cold water to just under the lid of the bottle
  • Bring to 90°C, making sure that this takes at least 45 minutes and hold at this temperature for one hour for jars containing up to 12 cups of product, an extra 30 minutes for larger
  • Remove from preserver and place on a wooden board.  If using screw top jars, screw lid on tightly now
  • Leave to stand for 24 hours
  • Remove clips (if used).  Check that lids are concave (this means that they have been preserved effectively)

Preserving liquid

** The liquid can be water, fruit juice or sugar syrup.  Sugar quantity in syrups can vary according to personal taste:

Light Syrup: one part sugar, four parts water

Medium Syrup: one part sugar to two parts water

Heavy Syrup:  equal parts sugar and water.

I make this syrup up in a plastic jug.  For a heavy syrup half fill the jug with sugar, add enough boiling water to dissolve the sugar, then fill the remainder of the jug with cold water, then stir in the citric acid.  The syrup is then ready to use.



16 thoughts on “Preserving (bottling) Pears

    • Sally Wise says:

      Hi Katrina,

      Food authorities no longer recommend preserving fruit in the oven, deeming it to be unsafe with an increased risk of spoilage and even botulism. So sorry, I don’t have an answer for you on that one.



  1. Fiona says:

    Hi Sally
    I am searching for a recipe/method for preserving pureed pears. My children like this on their porridge every morning, so we go through a lot of them, and I’d prefer to bottle them already pureed and without sugar. I’m wondering if I need to add citric acid or perhaps even orange juice (I don’t think they’d like lemon). Also, my jars are 1 litre, so I’m not sure how long I’d need to preserve for.
    Any tips?


    • Sally Wise says:

      Hi Fiona – I am flat out for the next couple of days, but by Wednesday I will reply to you with a comprehensive recipe for preserving pear puree (sugarless).



    • Sally Wise says:

      Here you go Fiona. You can add sugar to the puree if you want.

      Preserving Pureed Pears

      Peel, core and slice or dice the pears and cook with just a little water until soft. Purée with a stick blender if desired.

      (Optional) – if you don’t want the purée to discolour, add ½ teaspoon citric acid sor 2 tablespoons lemon juice to each 2 litres of puree.

      Pour into preserving jars (put rings on first if using Fowlers jars). Put on lids and clips as appropriate to jars you are using.

      Place jars in preserver, cover with lukewarm water and over 50 minutes bring up to 90 degrees C and hold at this temperature for one hour. If you have a thermostat controlled preserver, set temperature to 90 degrees C and leave for 1¾ hours.

      Remove from preserver and then leave undisturbed for 24 hours


  2. eileen faux says:

    Hi Sally
    I have a huge pear tree with masses this year. They are mottly green, very hard and eventually ripen for eating (just delicious) I would like to preserve some. Have tried in past and they go mushy. As I don’t know their type can you tell me when I should bottle them ie hard, medium?
    poached some whole for 45 mins when quite hard and they turned out really good. What do you think please?


    • Sally Wise says:

      Best stage to preserve them is when they are still quite firm, medium at best. They will be absolutely delicious.



  3. Lesley Proctor says:

    I have a problem that the top layer of preserved pears becomes discoloured after they are cooled and stored in the pantry.


  4. Penny says:

    Hi Sally,
    I wish to preserve quinces in a syrup of
    verjuice, honey, sugar, orange juice and spices. If I were to cook the syrup and pour over the quinces which have been packed into the Fowlers jars, would this be the correct process?
    Would the cooking time be an hour at 90 degrees as you have described above?


  5. Eve says:

    Sally, thanks for these very clear instructions. I am new to bottling and have an old-style stove top steriliser. I followed your method for bottling pears yesterday, but didn’t manage to keep the temperature consistent – it fluctuated between about 84 and 92. Is this OK or risky?


    • Sally Wise says:

      Yes, that should be fine. Keep an eye on them though because 88 is really as low as they should go – a lot depends on how long it remained at the lower temperature. I would use them within the next few weeks to be safe. Regards, Sally


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