Pear sauce is one of my favorite things to eat – especially with oatmeal! I have always been more of a pear person than an apple person; although I love apples too, but truth be told, I will almost always choose a pear over an apple most days. Of course pears are a bit more finicky than apples, they should be eaten at the peak of ripeness, no sooner and certainly no later. I suppose that one little detail is why food companies do not offer pear sauce to the masses like they do applesauce. As a result most people have never tasted pear sauce, and that is just a shame! But it doesn’t have to be that way because making your own pear sauce is super easy.
Make sure you begin with ripe pears. You can tell if a pear is ripe by slightly pressing on the skin. If you can make a indentation by pressing on the fruit with your finger then the pear is ripe. Ripe sweet pears will produce the best pear sauce.
How To Make Pear Sauce
Wash your pears.
I started out with 150lbs of Barlett pears. Yes, you read that correctly, 150lbs. That is even a bit much for me and is my record to date of amount of food processed at one time. If you are used to those kind of numbers then it should not be a big deal, but if you are just starting out I would start with around 30 to 50lbs.
Take the pear and chop off the top.
Then go ahead and quarter the pear. I use a strainer for the seeds and core so I didn’t worry about cutting those out.
To strain the pears I used a Victorio strianer. It works very well. This is a totally manual system, the only power involved here is elbow grease. You can find it on Amazon here. Place the pears in the top to feed them through the strainer. Here you can see the side where the skins and seeds are coming out in a discard bowl.
Here is the other side where the pear sauce is coming out of the strainer. It takes a bit of elbow grease for 150lbs. Luckily, I have a teenage boy willing to help his mom in the kitchen. I usually cut and strain the pears one day and then can them the next day. Of course how long it takes to make and can pear sauce will depend on the amount of pears, the time you have, and how many pairs of hands you have in the kitchen. If you are not going to process the pears the same day you might want to add a bit of citric acid so the sauce does not brown. I used Fruit Fresh and just mixed it into the sauce. I did not measure but I did not use much. The next day when I took the sauce out of the fridge I found the top of the bowl had a layer of pear sauce that had turned brown. I just scraped it off before I canned the sauce.
How To Can Pear Sauce
Wash your jars, your lids and your rings.
Sterilizing jars and lids is not necessary for processing times of 10 minutes or longer, I place them in the oven at 200 degrees to keep them warm. You want hot pear sauce and hot jars to go into your water bath canner. If you let either cool down too much you could end up with broken jars.
Heat your pear sauce. For thicker sauce you can cook it longer until you have the desired consistency.
Heat your lids and rings to soften the seal. If you place your lids inside your rings then you will have an easier time getting them out as the lids will not stick together. (Update: Ball no longer recommends doing this. So after you’ve washed your lids just place them in a bowl and set them aside until your ready to use them)
Spoon the pear sauce into jars. For pear sauce leave 1/2 inch head space.
Remove air bubbles with a spatula or other flat utensil. Don’t use a metal utensil because you do not want to run the risk of scratching the jars which could lead to breakage.
Wipe off the rims of the jars so that you can get a good seal.
Remove the rings from the pot. Place the rings on the jars and tighten “finger tight.” Finger tight means not too tight and not too loose. Just tighten them as far as they will go without forcing them
Place the jars in the canner. Bring the water to a boil and start the timer. Pear sauce should be processed (boiled) for 20 minutes, adjusting for altitude. You can find adjustments for altitude here. To look up your altitude go here. Turn off the heat and let the jars sit in the water for about 5 minutes before removing them from the canner. Let the jars set for at least eight hours or overnight before moving or handling.
I had so much pear sauce that I thought I would try canning two batches at the some time. I got out my Volcano Stove to process a batch outside on my back patio. I used my favorite canner made by Victorio – you can see when the water starts to boil without having to lift the lid. It also has two steam vents in the lid.
Here is a shot without the lid but you can see the water is boiling. I did have a bit of a problem keeping the water at a constant temperature but then I figured out how to adjust the control of the valve to help with this.
Here is a shot of my set-up. The red arrow points to the screw that needs to be tightened in order to allow the temperature to be very low. The volcano stove is much hotter than a regular indoor stove top.
Here is a close-up of the screw and where it is located.
Remove the rings. If the rings stay on and the lid fails (becomes unsealed) and the ring is still on, the lid may reseal itself. However, bacteria has already invaded the jar and the food should not be eaten, with the ring left on there is no way you will know about the resealing. If the rings are off the lid has no pressure to reseal itself so if the lid seal fails then you’ll know and you can throw that jar out. Label and put away. Here you can see what I did with all 150lb of pears. The front row is pear butter. Can you guess what my next canning post will be? The jars in the back are all pear sauce. I hope I have enough to make it until next pear season!