Pear-Lemon Preserves

by Daisy

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Pears and lemons are soulmates, two halves of one ambrosial whole. To me, this is the only way to make pear preserves, with thinly sliced whole lemons, peel and all.


Pear Preserves

Southern Living Cookbook

10 large pears (about 5 pounds), peeled, cored and chopped

4 1/2 cups sugar

3 cups water

2 lemons, thinly sliced

Place pears in a 3-quart Dutch oven and add water to cover. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes or until pears are tender. Drain.

Combine sugar and 3 cups water in a 6-quart Dutch oven; bring to a boil, and cook 10 minutes (mixture will be a thin, transparent syrup). Remove from heat, and let cool 15 minutes.

Stir in pears and lemon slices; bring mixture to a rapid boil. Boil rapidly until pears are transparent (about 45 minutes), stirring occasionally.

Pour pear mixture into a shallow 13- x 9- x 2-inch pan; skim off foam with a metal spoon. Cover loosely with paper towels, and let stand in a cool place 12 hours. Shake pan occasionally (do not stir) so pears will absorb the syrup. Skim off foam with a metal spoon.

Heat fruit and syrup mixture in Dutch oven. Using a slotted spoon, spoon the hot fruit into hot jars. Bring syrup to a boil; pour boiling syrup over fruit, leaving 1/4-inch head space; wipe jar rims. Cover with metal lids; screw on bands. Process in boiling-water bath 20 minutes. Yield: 3 pints.


Note: 5 pounds of whole pears became 3 1/2 pounds after peeling and coring– yield= 3 pints of preserves. Also, if you are suspicious that the syrup is too runny and unlikely to gel, when you boil the syrup for the last time just before pouring it over the fruit, test it by putting a little on a cold plate. If it is not starting to congeal at all, continue boiling the syrup until the cold-plate test is good for a bit of a gel. Just watch it–boil too long and you’ve made hard pear candy. (You are more likely to have a no-gel situation if you have tried to reduce the sugar like I tend to do.)

I am going to have to make a second batch. They are already starting to walk out the door.

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Jean September 12, 2008 at 8:55 pm

Wish I’d seen this last week when our pears were still usable. We’ve eaten most of them and I’ve made some chutney but this looks wonderful.

LaDonna August 17, 2009 at 7:41 pm

I have been looking for a recipe like my mother made. We lived in the middle of a 30 acre pear orchard, so they were plentiful. I will try this in a few weeks when the pears are in harvest. Hope it works. The only difference is that she left the pears in larger pieces more like sliced.

Tomato Lady August 17, 2009 at 11:31 pm

LaDonna–My mother made this, too. Hope yours turns out. The lemon is my favorite part.

Virginia October 3, 2010 at 1:33 pm

Is the lemon peeled or do you leave the peel on?


Tomato Lady October 3, 2010 at 3:18 pm

Virginia–Peel on, it’s delicious. Think marmalade.

jeansing September 20, 2012 at 11:29 am

Thanks Tomato lady…. this is just the question I had !!! so, I will leave the peel on the lemons and make it taste even better than it did the first time… that’s why we need one another.

bonnie October 2, 2015 at 10:52 am

Good morning. I made this same recipe of pear preserves years ago and wanted to make a batch as pears are out at our local farmers market here in East Texas. I do remember the recipe being delicious, but don’t remember how I did the 12 hour part in a “cool place”. Seems like I set the pan in my oven for that time, but just not sure. Where do you set your pan for this duration of time? Should the pan be put in the fridge?

Daisy October 2, 2015 at 4:01 pm

bonnie–I just put it on the kitchen counter, out of the sun. If you have room, it would be okay in the refrigerator, too. Good luck! I love this recipe, too. So good on homemade whole wheat toast.

Pastelle October 12, 2015 at 7:33 am


Thanks for the recipe! I am new at canning, my first time. I love this simple recipe. I only had one problem. Instructions stated to: “Stir in pears and lemon slices; bring mixture to a rapid boil. Boil rapidly until pears are transparent (about 45 minutes), stirring occasionally.” I attempted to boil rapidly for about 45 minutes. However, I had to turn the burner down because my pears were beginning to scorch. To avoid getting the burnt taste throughout my batch, I switched pans and lower the flame. I was trying to follow the instructions because I was not sure if it mattered if the batch had to boil at a high temp or not. So I just decided as long as the pears were cooked enough it didn’t matter if they boil rapidly for about 45 minutes.

They do taste good, just a little to sweet. If I cut the sugar amount would it make a difference in the syrup consistency? Also, I like the color of yours. Mine is on the little darker side, again they taste good!

Oh! One more things? Do I discard the lemons slices before putting the pears in the jars, or can I place them in the jars with the pears?

Thanks in advance for your help!

Daisy October 12, 2015 at 10:42 am

Pastelle–Hi! You can lower the temperature to keep the pears from scorching as needed. I often lower the sugar amount of preserves and jam. It often makes the end product a bit more syrupy, but the flavor is still delicious. I always leave the lemons in. The peels ‘candy’ and taste absolutely wonderful. The color may be determined in part by the type of pear, as well as whether or not you got a bit of a scorch. Just turn it down as much as you need, as long as you keep it bubbling somewhat. I hope it all works out!

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