Yes, I know. Honey comes from bees and from the nectar of flowers, yadda yadda yadda, NOT from fruit itself. But this is much like honey and if no one told you it was made with pears, you might be fooled. I had never heard of such a thing but apparently pear honey is a “thing”. People have been making this for a long time with the excess of pears available in the fall. It is an old-fashioned thing; who knew? It appealed to me because it is something different to do with pears and can be canned easily and used year-round, or given as gifts. This is a thick, concentrated, flavorful, golden, sticky “syrup”. I put syrup in quotes because it is really quite thick, more like honey. It will thin out a bit if heated or spread on something warm like a toasted English muffin or dolloped on a bowl of oatmeal.
My dad gave me a bag full of Bartlett pears that were about to turn so I figured I had to act fast. I thought about making a tart or some bread with them but I guess I was in the mood for preserving! I stumbled across the concept of pear honey while browsing pear recipes online. I read quite a few versions of this recipe and found that they are all fairly similar, with a few exceptions. A handful of recipes use the pear peels with liquid and sugar to extract their flavor. The peels are taken out later in the recipe. Most recipes however use the flesh of the pear and also involve pineapple and/or pineapple juice, most calling for canned crushed pineapple (although a few use the juice only). I had a fresh pineapple on hand so figured I would use that instead. It is true that there are enzymes in raw pineapple that will break down gelatenized foods but since I would be cooking this and was more concerned with reducing my mixture rather than gelling it, I decided to go ahead with it.
You can choose to let the fruits break down naturally only and leave some small chunks in your final product, or get our your immersion blender, as I did, and make this look more like actual honey. I peeled, cored and chopped about half a medium pineapple and then gave it a wiz in a bowl with my immersion blender to make a puree. I then peeled, cored and finely chopped my pears and added them to a large dutch oven, along with the pineapple puree, some lemon juice and sugar and cooked until thick and golden. After the fruit was at this state, I blended the entire thing with my immersion blender.
I decided to can my pear honey for two reasons: 1) I knew I wouldn’t use it all before it went bad and 2) I wanted to be able to gift it (if I can part with some of it)! Once a jar is opened it must be refrigerated and used within about 3 months. It will be quite thick in the fridge but you can spoon out what you need and give it a zap in the microwave if desired. This is delicious stuff! I couldn’t believe what this pot full of chopped fruit turned into! It really does look and taste like honey, with a floral note and everything. You can add more sugar if you want it to be extra sweet but I didn’t want to overpower the pears entirely.
For detailed canning instructions please refer to my Plum Preserves post! I have included the printable PDF for for canning procedures below.
- 3 lbs. fresh, ripe pears, peeled, cored and finely chopped
- 5 cups white granulated sugar
- ½ a medium-sized ripe pineapple, peeled, cored and chopped, with any juice
- Juice of half a large lemon
- In a large non-reactive pot combine all ingredients and heat over medium-high heat, stirring frequently to dissolve sugar and prevent scorching
- Bring to a full boil and reduce heat to medium to maintain a simmer
- Simmer for about an hour, stirring occasionally, until thick and golden in color. You want this to be thick but not too thick so be careful not to take it too far. If you do, just add a bit more pineapple juice or water and stir to incorporate it. If it is too thick it will be impossible to spread once it cools down
- Blend with an immersion blender right in the pot if you desire a smooth consistency
- Follow canning procedures, or refrigerate for up to 3 months
- If canning, leave ½ inch head space in each jar when filling and process in boiling water to 10 minutes. Allow to sit undisturbed after processing, on counter for at least 12 hours and then fully tighten the lids
- This will make 6-7 half pint jars
The texture is slightly different than regular honey but the taste is so similar- I was shocked! I’m so glad I tried pear honey! YUM!