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How to Make Homemade Pear Honey - Easily!

Homemade pear honey has the consistency of honey, is sweet and flavorful and, since you can either use juice or peelings from making canned pears or pear butter, is a good way to use all of the fruit! It is generally made with fruit juice and sugar, but you can use other sweeteners, like Stevia (in a prepared form like Truvia, it measures same as sugar; if you use another form, you will need do your own conversion) - or Splenda, if you prefer, or honey from bees. Making and canning your own Pear honey is so easy. Here's how to do it, in simple steps and completely illustrated. I'll discuss pears below, but you can substitute pears, pears or nectarines! Any variations will be spelled out in the directions inside the pectin.

See this page for pear-picking tips.

See this page for blueberry jam, this one for fig jam and for berry jams, see strawberry, blackberry, raspberry jam For easy applesauce or apple butter directions, click on these links. I've got some other pages for specific types of jam and butters, too, see this page.

Ingredients

  • 8 cups pear juice (either fresh, from washed, sound pieces and peelings from fruit used for preserves, pickles, etc - OR canned pear juice) You can also add chopped or ground pear (minus the skins, seeds and hard parts, of course) to give it extra body
  • 6 or 7 cups of water - if you are starting with peelings, you will need the water to cook them in.
  • 4 cups sugar or Stevia (in a prepared form like Truvia, it measures same as sugar; if you use another form, you will need do your own conversion) - or Splenda, if you prefer, or 3 cups of bee honey!
  • Juice of 1 lemon (if desired)

Equipment

  • Jar funnel ($2 at Target, other big box stores, and often grocery stores; and available online - see this page) or order it as part of the kit with the jar grabber.
  • At least 1 large pot; I prefer 16 to 20 quart Teflon lined pots for easy cleanup.
  • Large spoons and ladles
  • 1 Canner (a huge pot to sanitize the jars after filling (about $30 to $35 at mall kitchen stores, sometimes at big box stores and grocery stores.). Note: we sell canners and supplies here, too - at excellent prices - and it helps support this web site!
  • Ball jars (Grocery stores, like Publix, Kroger, Safeway carry them, as do some big box stores - about $7 per dozen 8 ounce jars including the lids and rings)
  • Lids - thin, flat, round metal lids with a gum binder that seals them against the top of the jar. They may only be used once.
  • Rings - metal bands that secure the lids to the jars. They may be reused many times.Jar grabber (to pick up the hot jars)- Big box stores and grocery stores sometimes carry them; and it is available online - see this page. It's a tremendously useful to put jars in the canner and take the hot jars out (without scalding yourself!). The kit sold below has everything you need, and at a pretty good price:
  • Foley Food Mill ($25) - not necessary; useful if you want to remove seeds (from blackberries) or make applesauce.
  • Lid lifter (has a magnet to pick the lids out of the boiling water where you sanitize them. ($2 at big box stores or it comes in the kit at left)

 

Pear Honey-making Directions

This example shows you how to make fruit honey from pears (and other stone fruits)!

If you are starting with pear juice, skip to step 5.

Step 1 - Pick the Pears! (or buy them already picked)

It's fun to go pick your own and you can obviously get better quality ones!

I prefer to grow my own; which is really easy - but that does take some space and time.

Step 2 - How much fruit?

It takes about 4 to 8 cups of pears peelings - you will need about a dozen pears to get this many peelings.

Step 3 -Wash the fruit and sort!

I'm sure you can figure out how to wash the fruit in a colander of plain cold water.

Then you need to pick out and remove any bits of stems, leaves and soft or mushy fruit. It is easiest to do this in a large bowl of water and gently run your hands through the fruit as they float.  With your fingers slightly apart, you will easily feel any soft or mushy fruit get caught in your fingers.

Then just drain off the water!

Step 4 - Peeling the Pears

Peel the pears.  Pears have such thin skins, you can use a potato peeler.

You can now eat the pears, or can them or make pear butter, etc. 

For this recipe, we only need the peelings.  Save all washed, sound pieces and peelings from the pears. (if you are peeling the pears in advance, keep the peelings refrigerated until ready to use).

Step 5 - Make the juice from the peelings

Cover the peelings with the water and slowly cook in a covered saucepan until they are soft. Then put in a cheesecloth bag and press to remove all juice. Drip the juice through a jelly bag and measure. The goal is to clarify the juice.

Step 6 - Wash the jars and lids

Now's a good time to get the jars ready, so you won't be rushed later. The dishwasher is fine for the jars; especially if it has a "sanitize" cycle, the water bath processing will sanitize them as well as the contents! If you don't have a dishwasher with a sanitize cycle, you can wash the containers in hot, soapy water and rinse, then sanitize the jars by boiling them 10 minutes, and keep the jars in hot water until they are used.

Canning jars in the dishwasher NOTE: If a canning recipe calls for 10 minutes or more of process time in the canner, then the jars do not need to be "sanitized" before filling them. But really, sanitizing them first is just good hygeine and common sense!  See this page for more detail about cleaning and sanitizing jars and lids.

Put the lids into a pan of hot, but not quite boiling water (that's what the manufacturer's recommend) for 10 minutes, and use the magnetic "lid lifter wand" to pull them out.

Leave the jars in the dishwasher on "heated dry" until you are ready to use them. Keeping them hot will prevent the jars from breaking when you fill them with the hot jam.

Lids: put the very hot (but not quite boiling; around 180 F, steaming water is fine)
water for at least several minutes; to soften up the gummed surface and clean the lids.  I just leave them in there, with the heat on very low, until I need them!

 Canning jars Widemouth Canning lids - get canning jar lids here through Amazon

Canning lids - where to get them online Need lids, rings and replacement jars?

Get them all here, delivered direct to your home, at the best prices on the internet!

 

Step 7 - Cook

Place the juice in the saucepan and heat over medium to high heat. When it boils vigorously, add the sugar at the rate of one-half as much sugar as juice. Boil it down rapidly until it achieves the consistency of honey.

 

 

 

Step 8 - Fill the jars and put the lid and rings on

Fill them to within 1/4-inch of the top, wipe any spilled jam off the top, seat the lid and tighten the ring around them. Then put them into the boiling water canner! 

This is where the jar tongs and lid lifter come in really handy!

Step 9 - Process the jars in the boiling water bath

Keep the jars covered with at least 2 inches of water. Keep the water boiling. In general, boil them for 5 minutes.  I say "in general" because you have to process (boil) them longer at higher altitudes than sea level, or if you use larger jars, or if you did not sanitize the jars and lids right before using them.    The directions on the pectin tend to be pretty conservative.  Clemson University says you only need to process them for 5 minutes.  I usually hedge my bets and start pulling them out after 7 minutes, and the last jars were probably in for 10.  I rarely have a jar spoil, so it must work.

Recommended process time for Pear Honey in a boiling water canner.
  Process Time at Altitudes of
Jar Size 0 - 1,000 ft 1,001 - 6,000 ft Above 6,000 ft
Half-pints
or Pints
5 min 10 15

Note: Some people don't even boil the jars; they just ladle it hot into hot jars, put the lids and rings on and invert them, but putting the jars in the boiling water bath REALLY helps to reduce spoilage! To me, it makes little sense to put all the working into making the jam and then not to process the jars to be sure they don't spoil!

Step 10 - Remove and cool the jars - Done!

Lift the jars out of the water and let them cool without touching or bumping them in a draft-free place (usually takes overnight) You can then remove the rings if you like, but if you leave them on, at least loosen them quite a bit, so they don't rust in place due to trapped moisture. Once the jars are cool, you can check that they are sealed verifying that the lid has been sucked down. Just press in the center, gently, with your finger. If it pops up and down (often making a popping sound), it is not sealed. If you put the jar in the refrigerator right away, you can still use it. Some people replace the lid and reprocess the jar, then that's a bit iffy. If you heat the contents back up, re-jar them (with a new lid) and the full time in the canner, it's usually ok.

Once cooled, they're ready to store. I find they last up to 12 months. But after about 6 to 8 months, they get darker in color and start to get runny. They still are safe to eat, but the flavor and texture aren't as good. So eat them in the first 6 months after you prepare them!

This recipe closely follows Clemson University's lab tested pear butter recipe.


Comments and Tips

  • Comments from a visitor on March 25, 2012: "I just made my first batch of pear honey. I wanted to let you know that the name is incorrect. It should be Pear Heaven! It took quite a while to complete but I was starting out with a much larger batch than the recipe called for [I made 10 half pints and 2 pints]. It was definitely worth the added time! Now I just have to find a place to hide it from my gluttonous children and husband!"
  • Comments from a visitor on August 21, 2009: "Oh My God!!!! I just made the pear honey this evening, and WOW!!! It's soooo good!!!!! Both my husband and I love it and of course the kids really enjoy it too. Thank you so much for such a wonderful recipe!!!!!"

 

Other Equipment:

From left to right:

  1. Jar lifting tongs
    to pick up hot jars
  2. Lid lifter
    - to remove lids from the pot
    of boiling water (sterilizing )
  3. Lid
    - disposable - you may only
    use them once
  4. Ring
    - holds the lids on the jar until after
    the jars cool - then you don't need them
  5. Canning jar funnel
    - to fill the jars

Canning tool kit

You can get all of the tools in a kit here:

Answers to Common Questions

  • Can I use a combination of peelings and pear juice?

    Yes! That's what I often do!

Feedback and Comments

  • Comments from a visitor on September 11, 2011: "Here's my granny's recipe: 9 cups chopped, peeled very ripe pears, 8 cups sugar, 1 (20 oz) can crushed pineapple, 2 Tbsp lemon juice. Combine all ingredients in a large stockpot (no aluminum), bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook for several hours until mixture is thickened and golden in color. Pour into sterilized jars, wipe threads and rims, cover with lids/rings and then process in a boiling water bath according to your county extension office guidelines (see step 9 above). About 8 half-pint jars. You can also add 2 tsp freshly grated ginger to the cooking mixture for a gingered pear honey. Have a super day - Hope"
  • Comments from a visitor on July 23, 2010: "Made a small batch yesterday and while my husband started off looking at me funny, when it was finished the pear honey was a huge hit. Not only was it wonderful, but it was basically made with just scraps! And the chickens got those when we were done. I've seen recipes that left pieces of fruit in the honey, but this one really gives us that honey feel. The verdict was that it was as good if not better than the bee honey I've got in the cabinet.

 

Ball home canning kit water bath canner

Home Canning Kits

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This is the same type of standard canner that my grandmother used to make everything from applesauce to jams and jellies to tomato and spaghetti sauce. This complete kit includes everything you need and lasts for years: the canner, jar rack, jar grabber tongs, lid lifting wand, a plastic funnel, labels, bubble freer, and the bible of canning, the Ball Blue Book. It's much cheaper than buying the items separately. You will never need anything else except jars & lids (and the jars are reusable)! There is also a simple kit with just the canner and rack, and a pressure canner, if you want to do vegetables (other than tomatoes). To see more canners, of different styles, makes and prices, click here!


Canning books

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