An open jar of preserves stands with a wooden spoon dipped into it.

These Gingered Pear Preserves are a must-make for us each year. I’ve been canning this recipe from the makers of Ball® home canning products since I first started canning in my first apartment kitchen 15 years ago! This sweet and tangy jam is perfect on top of toast, slathered on fancy grilled cheese, or given away as a thoughtful holiday gift.

This recipe only has four ingredients (all of which you can get at your regular supermarket), making it a supremely easy beginner canning recipe. Follow the directions, and you can’t mess this up! Let’s get canning.

Overhead of three jars of pear preserves, one open, with fresh pears, limes, and ginger around.


A Beginner’s Guide to Canning Salsa

Come out of this course with six jars of homemade salsa and a heap of canning confidence!

  • Learn what tools and supplies you need to stock your kitchen
  • Master all the techniques you need to can food safely
  • Overcome any fear you have about canning
  • Cook along with a canning expert with over 25 years of home canning experience

What is the difference between pear jam and pear preserves?

Many people use the terms jam, jelly, and preserves interchangeably, and while they are all sweet spreads that can be used in similar ways, they actually mean different things. It all comes down to the texture:

  • Jelly: A pear jelly is made using only pear juice—there are no chunks of pear fruit.
  • Jam: A pear jam is made using crushed or mashed pears.
  • Preserves: Pear preserves are used made using chunks of pear. This is what we are doing here!

Three half-pint jars of pear preserves and a fresh pear stacked two and two with fresh limes and ginger around.

What ingredients do I need?

With just four ingredients, this recipe is so simple—it’s a fantastic way to start canning. You’ll need:

  • Pears—Obviously! You’re looking for ripe pears (they should give a little when squeezed) but not so ripe that they are mealy or have brown spots.
  • Limes—The bright tang of limes is a nice way to balance the sweetness of these preserves, plus the added acid from the limes makes this recipe safe for water bath canning by reducing the pH.
  • Sugar—You’re going to want to use regular ol’ granulated sugar here.
  • Fresh ginger—Grab a hand of fresh ginger from the store. You’ll only use about an inch of it for this recipe, and the rest you can use to make a pot of fresh ginger tea.

A small wooden spoon spreads homemade jam on a split, fluffy biscuit.

Don’t I need pectin?

If you’ve done some canning before, you might be used to seeing added pectin in other jam and preserves recipes, but not here! Pears are very high in natural pectin, which allows these preserves to set beautifully without adding pectin.

What kind of pears are good for preserves?

You can use whatever pears are readily available near you, ripe, and in season. We typically use Bartlett pears when making the recipe—they are easy to find, affordable, and always taste great. It’s also easy to tell when Bartlett pears are ready to use in this recipe—it’s when they start to turn more yellow than green. Anjou and Bosc pears would also work.

Wholefully Protip

We do not recommend using Asian pears for this recipe. While they will technically work and are safe to can, Asian pears have a crunchy texture (similar to an apple) that makes them less well-suited for this recipe.

A hand holds up a half-pint jar of homemade gingered pear preserves.

How do you make ginger pear preserves?

You can have this entire batch of pear preserves finished in under an hour. It’s a fun project for a fall weekend afternoon! Here’s how to make them:

  1. Prepare your boiling water canner, jars, and lids per the recipe.
  2. In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, combine chopped pears, lime zest, lime juice, sugar, and ginger. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
  3. Boil, frequently stirring, until mixture thickens, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and test gel. If preserves break from a spoon in a sheet or flake, it is at the gel stage. Skim off foam. If your mixture has not reached the gel stage, return the pan to medium heat and simmer, constantly stirring, for an additional 5 minutes. Repeat gel stage test and cooking as needed.
  4. Ladle hot jam into a hot jar, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Wipe rim. Center lid on jar. Apply band, and adjust to fingertip tight. Place jar in boiling water canner. Repeat until all jars are filled.
  5. Process jars for 10 minutes, adjusting for altitude. Turn off the heat, remove the lid, and let the jars stand for 5 minutes. Remove jars and cool for 12-24 hours. Check lids for seal; they should not flex when the center is pressed.

Tight birdseye view of a wooden spoon scooping gingered pear preserves from an open half-pint jar.

Why are my pear preserves runny?

Because we are using natural pectin in the pears here instead of added pectin, it takes a bit longer boiling time to get the pectin to gel. If you test your preserves and see they are still runny, put them back on medium heat, cook for an additional 5 minutes, and then test for gelling again. Repeat this until your preserves are the desired consistency.

Wholefully Protip

There are a number of ways to test for gelling when you are making jam or preserves, but our favorite is to put a small saucer in the freezer when we start making the jam. When it’s time to test for gel, remove the jam from the heat, and then spoon a teaspoon of jam onto the cold saucer. It should immediately chill and gel up. Run your finger through the pool of jam—if it’s gelled to your preferred texture, it’s ready to go. If it’s still a bit runny, pop it back on the stove for a few more minutes.

What’s the best canning jar for gingered pear preserves?

Like all jams, jellies, and preserves, we recommend you can your gingered pear preserves in the Ball® Half-Pint Jars. These jars are the perfect size for your fridge door, and they are a great size to give as gifts.

A single half-pint jar of pears stands with a fresh pear and ginger on either side.

How long do pear preserves last?

When properly canned, pear preserves will last indefinitely when stored in a cool dark place as long as the seal is intact. However, the flavor, nutritional density, and color will start to decline past the one-year mark.

An open jar of preserves stands with a wooden spoon dipped into it.

Gingered Pear Preserves Recipe

Yield: About 5 half-pint (8 ounce) jars
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes

Ginger pear preserves are a flavorful, unique topping for toast, yogurt, pancakes, and oatmeal. They are a great addition to the fall harvest season.

Recipe provided by the makers of Ball canning products.


  • 5 1/2 cups finely chopped cored peeled pears (about 8 medium)
  • Grated zest and juice of 3 limes
  • 2 1/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger


  1. Prepare boiling water canner. Heat jars in simmering water until ready for use. Do not boil. Wash lids in warm soapy water and set bands aside.
  2. Combine pears, lime zest and juice, sugar and ginger in a large stainless-steel saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Boil, stirring frequently, until mixture thickens, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and test gel. If preserves break from spoon in a sheet or flake, it is at the gel stage. Skim off foam. If your mixture has not reached the gel stage, return the pan to medium heat and cook, stirring constantly, for an additional 5 minutes. Repeat gel stage test and cooking as needed.
  3. Ladle hot jam into a hot jar leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Wipe rim. Center lid on jar. Apply band, adjust to fingertip tight. Place jar in boiling water canner. Repeat until all jars are filled.
  4. Process jars 10 minutes, adjusting for altitude. Turn off heat, remove lid, let jars stand 5 minutes. Remove jars and cool 12-24 hours. Check lids for seal, they should not flex when center is pressed.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 80 Serving Size: 1 tablespoon
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 26Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 2mgCarbohydrates: 7gFiber: 0gSugar: 6gProtein: 0g

At Wholefully, we believe that good nutrition is about much more than just the numbers on the nutrition facts panel. Please use the above information as only a small part of what helps you decide what foods are nourishing for you.

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  1. So, I’ve never canned before, but have a pear tree and would like to try this recipe, however I am wondering if there is a way to make it low sugar or use stevia?

    1. Hi Sarah! We don’t recommend making any changes to a tested recipe for safety reasons. If you’d like to make a low sugar pear preserve, we recommend seeking out a tested recipe from a trusted source that is low sugar as written. Our recipe has only been tested with these ingredients in the listed amounts.

    1. Hi Becky! Our recipe has only been tested with fresh lime juice, and the acidity levels of fresh lime and fresh lemon juice are not the same. So we can’t recommend that swap! If you’d like to use lemons, we recommend finding a tested recipe from a trusted source that specifically calls for lemons.

  2. Hi! I made this recipe this morning. The flavor was great! I wanted more jars of it, so I 1.5 x the recipe. I only got not quite 6 jelly jars and needed to add one box of low sugar pectin. That said, next time I will double the recipe. Yummy!