For the love of cookies

Ginger Pear Preserves

Ginger Pear Preserves

Texas pears are slowly cooked down with sugar, lemon, and fresh ginger until they are reduced to a lovely thick syrup with tender pieces of fruit. The ginger in this recipe brightens up the sweetness of the pears and offers a subtle spice that will compliment a spiced chai cookie I will be making later this week.

Preserving the flavors of locally grown and harvested fruit is an act of love. Picking the fruit, washing, peeling, chopping, inspecting and discarding unsavory bits, then cooking and storing the finished products takes time. It takes care and special attention to detail and isn’t for the faint of heart. It is an act of love that I enjoy doing and will continue to do even though I am pretty sure I have proclaimed many times “it’s just too much work,” and, “I’ll never do this again.” Granted, I did have 22 pounds of gorgeous pears that required my immediate attention, for letting them ripen too long would have been a waste of precious fruit.

My husband knows these huffy statements of mine carry no weight, because as soon as I savor a spoonful of homemade preserves, I’ll shoot him a beaming smile and get a glimmer of excitement in my eyes. He knows I’ll be doing this again, complete with proclamations of contempt for cooking down fruit.


This recipe is dedicated to Kathy Hutto and Ronnie Reeves for their generous gift of locally grown pears. Nothing makes my heart happier than turning something as delicious as Texas pears into something extraordinary. Your kindness and southern hospitality overflow every time we visit, and we are proud to have you as family.

Love, Chrissy

Why I Love This Recipe

Flavor-Nothing beats the flavor of fresh fruit. But fresh fruit picked right off the tree? It’s the best flavor nature intended. Bright, concentrated flavors from the pears are highlighted by the addition of fresh ginger and lemon. Fresh pears have a delicate flavor that turns into a creamy almost custard or full bodied wine-like flavor when ripe. And boy do they ripen ever so quickly! The result of preserving pears, slowly cooked and reduced, are soft pieces of pear in a thick honey-like syrup. It is as close to eating a freshly ripened pear as you can get.

Texture-The pears are soaked in sugar and lemon juice prior to cooking so that they can retain their structure and not turn into pear butter. By doing this the pears stay in cubes and have a soft texture that melts in your mouth with every bite. It’s very similar to a soft pear candy in syrup. Absolutely delicious.

Simple Ingredients-Only 4 ingredients are needed to make this recipe and it is very simple to put together. It requires some planning to stay close to the stove, but it is not a difficult recipe in the slightest.

Ways to Enjoy Pear Preserves

-COOKIES. Of course.

-A good smear on top of a toasted English muffin with butter.

-Pair with cheese. Blue cheese preferably, the honey like syrup and sweet bites of pear are irresistible with a good funky blue. It is also great paired with soft chevre and fresh ricotta cheeses. Yum.

-A great addition to waffles in the morning.

-Topping for roasted pork tenderloin with sage butter. Seriously, pears go amazingly well with pork or chicken and the sugar in this is great to glaze.

-On top of ice cream.

-Can be used as a filling for spiced cakes or cupcakes. Especially if you pair it with a good caramel buttercream.

-Add a teaspoon to a balsamic vinaigrette dressing and toss on top of a fall inspired salad. My favorite harvest salad I like to make for Thanksgiving includes kale, cranberries, candied walnuts, sliced apples, sliced pears, and feta cheese. It is such a crowd pleaser.

Ingredients You Need

-Pears-locally grown if you have access to them. I recommend opting for pears that are firm and under ripe. Ripe pears are too soft, will have too much water in them, and will fall apart when cooking them down.

-Granulated sugar

-Ginger- I used fresh ginger for a brighter and spicier flavor. You can use a teaspoon of powdered ginger if you don’t have fresh or omit entirely if you don’t want any added flavors. Alternatively, cinnamon sticks, anise stars, or vanilla beans would be great additions to this recipe.

-Lemon-the lemon is necessary for the pear preserves to gel and thicken up. Pears do not have naturally occurring pectin, what helps the fruit juice thicken, and lemons have a lot of naturally occurring pectin. No need for liquid pectin in this recipe when you use lemons and lemon juice.

Pear preserves are a great accompaniment for savory and sweet dishes alike.

Let’s Make Pear Preserves

A good rule of thumb I have been told for cooking down most fruit is a pound of sugar for every pound of fruit. I used half as much for this recipe, about a half a pound of sugar per pound of fruit. If you would like sweeter preserves you can always add more sugar. I wouldn’t decrease the sugar by too much less than what I have written since you want the sugars to be able to cook down and preserve the fruit.

The first step in making pear preserves is to wash, peel, core, and chop all the pears. I chop the pears into ½ inch pieces and place them in a large bowl. The pears won’t reduce very much in size while cooking so I don’t want them to be too large when I cut them up. The size that is cut is the size you will have at the end of the cooking time.

Once all the pears are chopped and added to the bowl, I add the sugar and stir to make sure every pear is covered. I then squeeze both halves of a cut lemon on top and toss the rinds in the bowl as well. I stir again making sure everything is covered in sugar and lemon juice.

Pears, sugar, lemons, and lemon juice, ready to marinate overnight.

I wrap the bowl in plastic wrap and place in the fridge overnight to marinate. This will help the juice in the pears to come out as well as firm up the chopped fruit, so they don’t turn into mush when they begin to cook.

The next day, I pour the pears along with the juice that has collected at the bottom, and the lemon halves into a large saucepan. The pears will bubble up slightly, so I want a pan that has tall sides to avoid boiling over. I add an inch piece of ginger that has been peeled and chopped in half.

While the preserves are cooking on the stove I prepare a half dozen of 4 ounce-mason jars and lids by washing in hot soapy water. I let them air dry on a rack, so they are ready to fill when the preserves are done. If you choose to can these jars in a hot water bath, prepare a large stock pot of water on the stove to bring to a boil when the jars are filled.

Over medium heat I bring the pears up to a boil. The mixture will be frothy and bubbly, this is normal and will subside as they continue to cook. Once it is at a good boil, I reduce the heat to medium low.

I allow them to cook for two hours on medium low heat or until the pears are soft and the liquid has reduced to a thick syrup. This may take longer or shorter depending on the liquid in your pears and the heat of your stove. Less juicy pears cooked at a higher heat will be done sooner and vice versa.

I discard the lemon halves and take out the ginger to save for tea. I later made hot chamomile tea with the pear-soaked ginger pieces and was pleasantly surprised at the flavor they had infused in them. I highly recommend using the ginger in tea before discarding.

The color pear preserves is beautiful.

The pear preserves are done when the liquid is reduced to a thick syrup and the pears are translucent and soft. The pears will also turn into a lovely rose color which I think is brilliant and another reason why I love making preserves.

I fill the clean jars with hot preserves, place the lids on top, then screw down the canning rings snug but not overly tight. If canning these jars, boil a stockpot of water. Place the closed jars in the boiling water for 5 minutes, carefully remove after 10 minutes and allow to cool undisturbed on a kitchen towel.

Sealed jars of pear preserves should be stored in a cool dark place for up to a year. Unsealed or opened jars of pear preserves should be stored in the refrigerator for up to a month.

Pear preserves are a great filling for cookies.

I will be using these wonderful ginger pear preserves in this week’s cookie: Chai Pear Cookie with Brown Butter Chai Glaze. It is a brown butter oatmeal cookie with chai spices, toasted walnuts, ginger pear preserve filling, and topped with a brown butter chai glaze. You definitely want this recipe. Stay tuned!

If you try this recipe and love it as much as I do, please tag, follow, and like @sunshinetxcookies on Instagram and Facebook. New posts every Thursday so be sure to follow me for more delicious cookie recipes. Happy Baking!

Ginger Pear Preserves

Chrissy Grundy
Fresh, local pears are cooked down with sugar, lemon, and ginger for a delicious fall treat.
Prep Time 1 day
Cook Time 2 hours
Course Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
Cuisine American


  • 3 pounds pears pears should be firm. Do not use ripe pears.
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 lemon cut in half
  • 1 one inch piece of fresh ginger optional. Can also use a half teaspoon of powdered ginger.


  • Wash, peel, core, and dice pears into half inch cubes.
  • Place diced pears into large bowl with sugar and both halves of lemons squeezed.
  • Stir to combine everything. Make sure pears are coated in sugar and lemon juice.
  • Cover tightly with plastic wrap and leave overnight in fridge. Pears will release a lot of juice.
  • The next day, pour pears with the juice that has formed in the bottom of the bowl, the lemon halves and the peeled cut in half into a tall sided pot.
  • Bring the mixture up to a boil over medium high heat. Be careful to stir and not let it bubble out of the pot.
  • Cook the pears for 2 hours or until the pear juice has turned into a thick syrup and the pears are translucent and soft. Be sure to stir the pears often when the mixture starts to thicken.
  • Discard the ginger and lemons.
  • Place hot pear preserves into clean mason jars. I filled 6, four-ounce mason jars with this recipe.
  • Seal the jars with lids. You can heat treat them in a stock pot of boiling water for 10 minutes.
  • Allow the jars to cool overnight undisturbed.
  • Sealed pear jars will last up to a year. Unsealed jars will last up to 2 months in the refrigerator.
  • Enjoy!
Keyword ginger pear, pear preserves, pears


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Chrissy Grundy

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Howdy! I love creating delicious cookie recipes. I enjoy spending time with my kids and husband in Buda, Texas and I am a huge supporter of local Texas producers. I am so happy you are here! Let’s start baking!

Chrissy Grundy

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