December 10, 2009



They say February is the longest month, but for me, it was November. My sincerest apologies for not posting in so long, but the last six weeks have been craaaazy. I will do my best to make up for it in the coming weeks. 
I have much to report on including a fantastic canning event I did at MEND (Meet Every Need with Dignity) with talented fellow canner Kevin West from Saving the Season, and the fabulous folks from Food Forward, but more on that later.
Below is my recipe for Thai Flavored Canned Asian Pears. Kevin sampled them at the MEND event and convinced me that it was post-worthy. Sometimes we need to borrow others taste buds, our own being confused or overwhelmed. Both Kevin and my daughter Isabel said it reminded them of lychee.
My desire for a crisp canned pear led me to develop this recipe. Asian pears don’t have a ton of flavor, but what they lack in taste they make up for in texture. I can’t think of another fruit that is simultaneously crisp and juicy. They retain that quality when canned and their delicate taste makes them the perfect foil for any number of flavors you want to impose on them. The thai trio of lemon grass, ginger and lime are a perfectly complement the pears.
The technique is the same as basic canned pears; peel and core, cook briefly in a simple syrup and can. Asian pears do not have sufficient acid so they require the addition of citric acid or bottled lemon juice to the jars before canning.
This makes a lovely light dessert served with sorbet or on its own. It’s a simple recipe with a big WOW factor.


4 quarts
  • 1-gallon cool water
  • 1-teaspoon citric acid or lemon juice (for water to prevent browning)
  • 8-10 lb firm Asian Pears
  • 21/2cups sugar
  • 6 cups water
  • 8 1/4” thick slices of peeled fresh ginger root
  • 2 stalks lemon grass trimmed, lightly smashed and cut into 3-4” pieces
  • 4 kafir lime leaves or 4 large pieces lime peel (with as little pith as possible)
  • 8 tablespoons (2 per quart jar) bottled lemon juice or 2 teaspoons  (1/2 teaspoon per quart) citric acid

1.  Start your hot water bath canner and prepare your jars and lids.
2. Mix the water and citric acid or lemon juice together in a large bowl. Peel, quarter and core the pears (I use a melon baller) and place them in the water mixture to prevent browning.
3. Meanwhile in a large saucepan combine the sugar, water, ginger and kafir leaves or lime peel. Bring to a boil over medium heat stirring until sugar is dissolved. Reduce the heat to low.
4.  Place pears in a single layer (you may have to do two batches) in syrup. Cook over medium low heat for 5 minutes until fruit is heated through.

5. Add bottled lemon juice or citric acid to prepared jars. Using tongs or a slotted spoon pack pears into jars as snugly as possible (the fruit shrinks while cooking). Fill to the top squeezing in extra fruit if possible.

6. Divide ginger slices, lemon grass and  kafir evenly between jars. Cover the pears with the sugar syrup leaving 1/2-inch headroom. Remove any air bubbles. Wipe rims and place lids on screwing on lightly.
7. Place jars in canner covering with more hot water to submerge the jars by at least a full inch. Bring to a boil and process quarts for 25 minutes (timed from the boil). Remove canner lid and wait 5 minutes before carefully removing jars. Place jars on towels or a cutting board to cool.


  1. I am so excited, I was telling a friend about this recipe and that I wanted to try it - next week her husband is bringing me a box! I can't wait - I'll let you know how it goes.

  2. My pears are here!!! Let the canning begin!!

  3. Quick question, why bottled lemon juice rather than fresh? Can't wait to try this recipe too.

  4. Janet,

    Some fruits and vegetable do not have sufficient acid to ensure safe canning. Fresh lemons have a variable amount of citric acid in them. Bottled lemon juice has a know and consistent PH level which ensures proper acidification when needed. I keep a bottle in the fridge and use it ONLY in recipes that call for it, do not substitute regular lemon juice in a recipe that calls for bottled.
    I hope this helps.

    1. Thank you for this recipe! My 4H group will learn how to can next week and we had a bumper crop of Asian pears & no idea how to can them.

  5. Hi Nina,
    If I want to put up pints instead of quarts, can the processing time be shortened?

  6. Sounds delectable. This recipe would be great as a desert.

  7. Made these last weekend, and opened a jar tonight. So amazing. Best recipe ever.

  8. Anyone consider adding Thai basil to simple syrup? Or too overpowering?

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