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Perfect Pear Jam

32 Reviews

4 half pints
This pear jam is simple and versatile - you can use different varieties of pears each time you make it. Some batches might be faintly floral, others more tart, depending on the pear varieties you use. The fine quality and great taste of USA Pears will shine through in every batch of this delightful homemade jam!
  • 3 pounds Bartlett, Bosc, Comice, or Anjou USA Pears, ripe and slightly under-ripe
  • 1 fresh lemon, zested and juiced
  • 4 cups white sugar

If preferred, peel pears. Cut pears lengthwise into quarters and remove cores and stem ends. Chop pears into chunks, bigger for chunky jam, smaller for a smooth batch.

Combine pears, lemon zest, lemon juice, and sugar in a large bowl. Stir well to combine and cover. Let the mixture sit on the counter at least one hour, but preferably 8 hours, or overnight.

After letting the mixture sit, stir well, scraping any sugar that may have collected on the bottom of the bowl. Place pear mixture in a heavy-bottomed non-reactive pan. Bring to a boil over medium high heat and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent the fruit from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Stir the fruit gently while cooking to reduce foaming.

After about 10 minutes the fruit should be soft. Mash the pear chunks with a potato masher if you want smaller pieces, or mash completely for a smooth jam. Boil for 5-15 more minutes, stirring, until the jam either thickens to your liking or until it reaches 220 degrees on a candy thermometer.

Once desired thickness has been achieved, remove the preserving pan from the heat and spoon mixture immediately into hot sterilized jars, leaving ¼-inch headspace for canning, or 1 inch if you plan to freeze. Look for any bubbles and use a plastic knife to pop them.

At this point you can either cover jars with tight-fitting lids and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 months or in the freezer for up to 6 months, or you can process by following the next steps: Wipe rims of jars spotlessly clean and cover with sealing lids. Screw bands on finger-tight. Place jars on rack in boiling water bath canner, ensuring that tops of jars are completely submerged in hot water. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes.

Remove jars from canner using jar-lifter tongs and gently set aside to cool on a kitchen towel in a draft-free place. Let rest for 24 hours, then check for a proper seal before storing.

yield: Makes about 4 half pints

  • Serving Size: 1 TBSP
  • Calories: 120
  • Carbohydrates: 31g
  • Protein: 0g

36 Comments » for Perfect Pear Jam
  1. Mari says:

    Pear tree produced an abundance of small pears. We culled the tree and made jam from the culls. They are sweet and ripe, but no way you’d want to peel them. So I quartered them, removed stem and seeds and proceeded with recipe. Was able to use food mill to remove many of the skins after the first 15 mins of cook time. Just poured the “milled” pear mix back in the pot and boiled for 20 mins. Processing in InstaPot using the steam method now. Its sweet and intensely pear flavored. I would use more of my tiny pears next time without adding more sugar.

  2. Kristen B says:

    Great recipe that can easily be tweaked. I simmered it a lot longer until it was the consistency I wanted. I added cinnamon and jalapenos. Excellent!

  3. Deian says:

    if you wonder why we need to keep them in sugar overnight –

  4. Tadas Osmolskis says:

    Came across this recipe when searching for a quick’n’dirty recipe to handle a bunch of pears I needed to process *right now*. I had about 3 pounds after I processed the pears and cut out the bad bits. I substituted a shot glass (a little more than 2 TBSP) of bottled lime juice for the lemon (because that’s what I had on hand). I only used 2 cups sugar (4 cups strikes me as crazy), and let it marinate for 8 hours (folks, if you learn anything from this recipe, use extended marination in sugar any time you can start with fruit and sugar). Mashed with a potato masher, 10 minutes gentle boil, mashed some more, brought to a rolling boil (can’t stir it down), added 3 Tbsp of Ball traditional pectin, boiled another minute, then loaded 4 half-pint jars and water bathed for 15 minutes. I had almost 12 oz left after I’d filled my canning jars, so that went into a 12 oz jar for the fridge.l Tastes great, and the recipe got me off my butt to process the pears before they were gone. A good recipe to riff on.

  5. kvwrd says:

    Most reviews are right on, this is a very simple recipe that works! The method is common, only the proportions vary. I used 5 lb. pears, juice of 2 lemons and 3 cups of sugar. It seems to be setting up perfectly. I hope that I can still get some local pears tomorrow – I want to leave them in larger chunks to candy for my fruit cake. I candy my own pineapple and so much more flavorful, not as hard. I am excited!

  6. Andy says:

    This came out better than I expected. I have a pear tree with huge hard pears. I don’t know the variety but they are definitely baking pears. I ended up having the mixture sit for two days by accident. Bad scheduling on my part. It still turned out great.
    I used the 4 cups of sugar to brine the pears but I probably left out 2 cups from the bottom of the bowl when I put them in to cook. The cooking times were much longer for me. I boiled them for about 20-25 minutes. Then I used my immersion blender to smooth them out. It took about 45 minutes to an hour to get to the consistency I wanted. When it stuck nicely to my silicone spurtle I figured it was done. Low and slow simmering worked for me.

  7. Mina says:

    How many cups is 3 pounds

  8. Mary white says:


  9. Lynda says:

    I made 2-2 x double batches
    The first batch that I doubled I cut sugar in half and let it sit 9 hours before cooking, cooked 20 mins then used my immersion blender, I cooked it an additional 15-20 min till it thickened and neared the 220 boiling point
    I hot bathed them 15 mins
    2 nd batch I also doubled I let sit 2.5 hours and repeated
    Wow what great and easy jam! 2 hours vs 8 hours it yielded me a extra 1/2 pint in total I made 10 pints
    Turned out amazing!!

  10. Pat Falcon says:

    This turned out to be fabulous ! As a first time “canner” ,delicious !

  11. linda says:

    I havent tried this recipe yet but to answer someones question about them not gelling, I cook them a lot longer. They sit overnight on the counter and the sugar helps make the liquid. I dont add liquid. I have cooked mine as long as two hours to get the thickness my family likes.

  12. Terri says:

    My first attempt at jam, ever and it had a great taste but mine didnt gel. i used Real Lemon juice, maybe that was my problem. I cooked as instructed and then waited 24 hrs. still drippy so i put it back on the stove and thickened with cornstarch and more sugar. it jelled but man i think it weakend the flavor. more of a big mess. i will try with more fresh lemons and see what happens. we have a pear tree so lots to try with.

  13. Karen says:

    Made this today!!! It is so good. Did the recipe as instructed. Left on the counter overnight. I can’t stop eating it.

  14. Celeste says:

    This was delicious. I added some chopped candied ginger to the pears and let sit for only about six hours. After cooking, I added chopped fresh thyme leaves. My company raved and everyone took some home. Making it for Thanksgiving for a baked brie in phyllo cups appetizer.

  15. Verna says:

    Recipe says to let sit “on the counter” overnight. I suspect that letting sit in the fridge won’t let the flavour out or let the fruit soften as much, therefore being a thinner juice in the final product. am going to try it this week.

  16. Kathy Stephenson says:

    That should work but we have never personally tried it!

  17. Rosie says:

    Can you substitute Honey for the sugar?

  18. Gregory says:

    I made this today. Weighted fruit after prep so weight was good.
    left in 1/2″ chunks with skin, let sit overnight in fridge.
    Perhpas I should have pureed pears in food processor first but I feel it would have still been too syrupy.
    The recipe used too much sugar to fruit. I ended up with chunks of pear in an abundance of sugar. Tastes good. I had to strain fruit into jars and top with syrup.
    Then I added another 8 cups of prepped pears (thank goodness I have a abundance of pears!)
    Still after the 8 cups of fruit I still had almost 2 cups of syrup left.
    Tasty and will use as simple syrup for ice tea.
    But this does not make a good jam. I did better last year winging it on my own.

  19. Eli says:

    This recipe couldn’t be easier! And, the results are very nearly perfect. Stick to the method and the only variable is the intensity of the pear flavor. I used Bartlett pears from Costco which had a mild pear flavor, peeled and rough chopped to 1/2″, and let them macerate in sugar overnight. 3 lbs took about 5 pears and yielded a little over 2 pints of jam. I also did the optional processing step since I already had boiling water from sterilizing the jars and lids.

  20. Chanel says:

    Very tasty. Peeled my pears, put the sugar, lemon juice and I used dried lemon peel. Let it sit over night in my extra refrigerator. Took the out the next morning and sat on the counter about 5 hours. Put in my pot and brought up to a boil. Reduced to a simmer and let them simmer about 15 minutes. Used my immersion blender to blend smooth. Let it continue to cook down about another 15/20 minutes. Boy is it good. My husband said a little will go a long way due to the sweetness.

  21. Evie says:

    well from what i can say its pretty tasty, after just licking the utensils..but i didnt peel the pears, just threw them in food processor. just turned of burner…waiting on them to cool and “pop”. cant wait to try

  22. Cynthia says:

    Overnight resting and longer cooking times is what make them come out perfect. Be patient. Anything good is worth waiting for!

  23. says:

    Pears have very little pectin. Typically you have to add pectin. For 3 lbs of pears I’d add 6% of the weight of the pears in lemon juice. I’d take the lemons you used for the juice, chop it up and put it in a food grade muslin bag along with the seeds. Let it soak overnight with the pears and sugar. Let it boil about 5 minutes with the pears then pull the pectin bag out of the preserves and let it cool while it’s cooking, pull the jam of the burner. Once you can touch the bag, squeeze and twist it over the pot until the pectin comes out. It will feel slimy and be translucent to opaque. Put the preserves back on the pot and cook to gel point. I like to use the wrinkle test. The lemon should give you enough pectin to give you a gel. I’d also run half the pears through a food mill or mash with a potato masher to give you a thicker consistency. This should be done once the pears have cooked a few minutes to soften them. You could also try a few teaspoons of Ball granulated pectin. It must be mixed with some of the sugar and I add some of the hot liquid to it to so I am sure it dissolves. Score I put it in the pot.

  24. Steve says:

    Anyone not peel the pears? Curious how that turned out

  25. Becky Kiersky says:

    I boiled my mixture up to 220 degrees, water processed for 15 minutes, but it didn’t thicken. Any suggestions? It is now a wonderful pear syrup, but I really would like pear jam as well.

  26. Anitta Nienaber says:

    Love this

  27. Janissa says:

    Love, love, love this recipe! Very simple and easy to make. I have made pear jam before, but I had never let them sit. I tell you….this is what gives it the best flavor. I had let them sit about 10 hours and it was perfect! Thank you for the recipe!

  28. Darlene Starr says:

    I have never had pear jam nor made it, and I didn’t know what to expect. This is outstanding tasting gem! Very very easy to make! I followed the directions without any cinnamon or anything extra, leaving the pears overnight and it turned out better than I ever thought.

  29. USA Pears says:

    yes definitely!

  30. Elma says:

    Recipe sound like it could be really good. Is it possible to use bourbon instead of the whiskey you chose?

  31. Stacey Ness says:

    This is an amazing and simple recipe. We made a plain batch, a batch with a tablespoon of cinnamon, and a batch with Fireball whiskey and they all turned out great. The neighbors are already asking about getting on the list for delivery next year! We used Summercrisp pears and they were delicious.

  32. Kathy Stephenson says:

    It probably will not taste as good but it will most likely work.

  33. Vicky says:

    Can you use canned pears,we do not have fresh pears in nh only store bought

  34. Tshepo Mkhwanazi says:

    Amazing jam i added one star-anise and Clove

  35. Anastasia says:

    Quick question, what does leaving them overnight do? What would happen if I boiled the pears directly after chopping them up?

  36. Angela says:

    Great recipe. I added a tbsp of cinnamon also.

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