Preserved Pears with Ginger and Star Anise {Canning for Beginners}

by jenna on March 6, 2014

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Okay, so y’all know how I said how much I wanted to get into home canning?

Well, I decided there was no time like the present and I just jumped right in. Cannon balled in, really, if we’re being honest. I don’t know what happened {I blame everything on pregnancy} but for some reason in the past few weeks I have just become totally obsessed with learning everything possible about home canning. And you know what I discovered? It’s really not has hard or complicated as I once thought! And while special equipment is great, you really probably have everything you need in your kitchen at home to get started….like a gigantic pot and mason jars.

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These preserved pears are my third canning project. I am definitely no expert yet, although I did read two books about canning and have spent countless hours on canning blogs such as this learning everything I possibly could. My first project was a batch of preserved lemons – I really wanted to make a recipe in Gwyneth Paltrow’s cookbook that used them but didn’t want to chalk up all the dough to buy them at the store. I think they turned out well but haven’t tasted them yet. I’ll keep you posted. My second project was a big, fat fail. I tried to make jalapeno jelly and used waaaay too much pectin.

I don’t want to talk about it.

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These pears, however, turned out beautifully and I know they taste delicious because I just polished off a whole jar of them with my lunch! My goodness, are they ever good! And SO EASY. Really. If you’ve never canned before and always thought the process seemed so scary, try these pears! They are ridiculously simple yet so satisfying.

I used a box of glorious Harry & David pears to make these. I guess the kind folks over there in Ashland heard how I was craving nothing but fruit because a few days ago a perfect box of pears appeared out of nowhere on my doorstep. Like a gift from the heavens. I knew we were about to leave on vacation and didn’t want a single bit of these pears to go to waste so I immediately decided to preserve them!

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I made a very light simple syrup and stuffed my sterilized jars full of pears, syrup, fresh ginger and star anise. Ginger and anise might be my new favorite flavor combo ever, by the way. If you can’t find star anise {I found some at Whole Foods in the bulk spice section}, you can just use ginger.

They’d be perfection over oatmeal, even better over vanilla ice cream, and are pretty darn delicious eaten right out of the jar. Trust me, they’ll make you feel like a rockstar because they taste so great.

So, what are you waiting for?! Start canning, friends!

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Preserved Pears with Ginger and Star Anise

yields 4 quart sized jars

Print this Recipe!


about 6 large pears, ripe but still firm to the touch

1 3″ knob fresh ginger, peeled and sliced thin

juice of 1 large lemon

4 star anise

2 1/4 cups sugar

5 1/4 cups water

special equipment~

4 sterilized quart sized mason jars {see directions below}

large tongs

the biggest pot you own {or a canning pot!}


First, sterilize the jars. To do this, wash the jars and lids with hot soapy water {I consider jars fresh out of the dishwasher sanitized, personally}. Fill up your large pot with water and place the jars and lids in the pot. Bring to a boil and boil for 10 minutes. Make sure jars are fully submerged in the boiling water. Keep jars and lids in the hot water until ready to use.

Second, make the sugar syrup. Combine the sugar and water in a medium pot and bring to a boil so all the sugar dissolves. Turn off heat and set aside for the time being.

Now, prepare the pears! Wash, peel, core and slice the pears into thick slices. Place pears in a large bowl filled with cold water and lemon juice to prevent any browning. Once you have all the pears prepared it’s time to can!

Place a clean dishcloth on the counter next to your large pot of water and jars. Carefully, use your clean tongs {or jar lifter if you have one} to lift a hot jar out of the water. Pack with pears. Tuck a few pieces of ginger and one star anise seed in each jar. Top with sugar syrup, making sure to leave 1/4″ headspace at the top of the jar.

Wipe rims with a clean paper towel and carefully lift a hot lid from the water with the tongs. Place the lid on top of the jar and add the screw band. Make sure not to over-tighten here — just screw it on normally. Repeat with remaining jars and pears.

Once you have all your pears in jars, bring water back up to a full boil. Place jars in the water, MAKING SURE THERE’S AT LEAST ONE INCH OF WATER ON TOP OF JARS. If your pot isn’t largest enough for your jars, you might need to use a second pot…or invest in a super large canning pot. Make sure you’ve got a full boil going then set a kitchen timer for 20 minutes. Let the cans process in the boiling water for 20 minutes then lift out and let cool. You’re done! You should hear a delightful popping sound as the jars cool and the seal is made. To test the seal, press your finger on a cooled jar lid. It should not pop back up — rather, it should be concave. If it does pop back up, refrigerate immediately.

Preserved pears will keep for 1 year. Once you open the jars, make sure to refrigerate immediately.


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{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

Caroline Combs March 6, 2014 at 3:29 am

I used to know how to do this when I was younger, then I forgot. This is great! Now I can take it up again. Thanks for the directions.


Maryea {happy healthy mama} March 6, 2014 at 3:44 am

I’m inspired to do more canning! I’ve done a little here and there, but nothing substantial. These pears look incredible. I love canned pears and peaches–yum.


Cara's Healthy Cravings March 6, 2014 at 3:55 am

Maybe canning is a form of nesting for you 😉


Averie @ Averie Cooks March 6, 2014 at 4:38 am

I love preserving things and normally I do more savory and veggies….need to do more fruits! They’re gorgeous, Jenna! pinned


Chicago Jogger March 6, 2014 at 4:43 am

Beautiful:) Those pears look delicious!


Jojo @ RunFastEatLots March 6, 2014 at 5:12 am

This looks delicious! Love the combo of pear and star anise


Nicole March 6, 2014 at 6:19 am

Yum. I think about canning all the time but it always seems so out of reach. This seems so manageable.


Lori March 6, 2014 at 6:48 am

I canned pearsauce, this past fall, for our youngest granddaughter. She is now 6 months and about ready to start eating it.!


colleen March 6, 2014 at 7:02 am

This looks like a beautiful gift for someone. Have a wonderful babymoon!


erin @hooleywithaz March 6, 2014 at 7:44 am

ooo i will have to try that this fall when pears are in season here! i love small batch canning…people think it’s this amazing feat when i make six jars of pickles, and i’m sitting here quietly taking the praise when i know it only took a couple hours beginning to end (if that).


Sarah March 6, 2014 at 7:48 am

Recipe looks great! Might be just the push I need to finally be brave enough to start canning!


Kristin March 6, 2014 at 8:38 am

Awesome! I honestly thought you needed fancy equipment to do canning–I had no idea you just needed a big pot! I want to try this.


MeredithS March 6, 2014 at 3:38 pm

You should check out the book canning for a new generation. It is so great!


Heather Michelle @ A Sweet Simple Life March 6, 2014 at 7:07 pm

Great tutorial, and what a lovely flavor combo. Can’t wait to give this a try!


Cindy March 6, 2014 at 7:51 pm

Hey Jenna! You can also find star anise at the asian market. I use it in a lot of asian meat dishes. Its probably way cheaper at the asian market (it comes in a red/clear plastic twist top container) so keep that in mind when you run out! BTW we need to catch up soon. Before you’re wayy too exhausted to do anything but breastfeed. haha


Alexandra Aimee March 6, 2014 at 8:23 pm

Preserving intimidates me, but this looks so delicious! I’m going to have to give it a try.

— Alex at Cashmere Kangaroo


Aaryn @ Insert{Life}Here March 6, 2014 at 8:50 pm

Ashland is the bomb. As is Harry & David. Those little lovers 🙂


Lia @ Luscious Living March 7, 2014 at 10:17 am

Huh, that doesn’t seem so difficult. I’d like to try that with apples during apple season!!


Kirsten | Fit + Fab March 7, 2014 at 1:10 pm

Definitely must try this recipe sometime. Two things I love… Anise and pears.


Coty and Mariah@quirksandtwists March 7, 2014 at 5:17 pm

This looks awesome! Cannot wait to try it out!


Ella March 7, 2014 at 5:21 pm

You sweet southern girl you – I don’t know anyone with mason jars in their kitchen!! 🙂


Carla March 7, 2014 at 7:32 pm

Amazing! Canning is something I’ve wanted to try but have been afraid to.


Amy Walters, A DESIGN DOCK March 8, 2014 at 8:48 pm

I’ve really wanted to learn how to can, but I’m just so intimidated by it. So glad you’re posting on it, Jenna. I need all the help I can get. 🙂


Kim @ Roaming Raspberry March 10, 2014 at 4:49 am

These sound amazing!!!! I would have never thought to use anise! Such a great idea! Holy yum! I love the idea of topping your oatmeal with these!


Lauren March 10, 2014 at 2:13 pm

I totally need to take a bunch of canning classes. I want to know how to can, but have no idea where to start! I also need to get my hands on a bunch of glass jars…..


Fiona Matthews March 15, 2014 at 4:12 am

We are just in the process of starting a “canning” drive. we have lots of wind blown fruit in our back yard and it is always way to much to eat at once..
So.. time to “can up” and get preserving… and this post is going to get referred to.. alot 🙂


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