Saturday, October 2, 2010

Canning Brandied Pears

After trying almond pears, I have gotten gutsier with canning with liquor. I used to be afraid of canning with a lot of liquor because I don’t like things with a strong alcohol flavor like those liquor truffles that you can get around Christmas time. This time around I made brandied pears. The brandy added a woodsy sweetness to the pears that complimented the sweet and citrusy smelling pears. I was really impressed with how much I liked the pears considering how opposed I was to making these pears originally. I think this little exploration into the world of liquor soaked fruits has made me more open to cooking with hard liquor. If you are nervous about canning with liquor, then I suggest making a small batch of liquor soaked fruit to see if you like it. For me it was worth the attempt.

Ingredients (yield: about 4 quarts) from Blue Book Guide to Preserving p 18 my notes are in []

10 pounds pears
6 cups sugar
4 cups water
3 cups brandy


Wash, peel, half and core pears [I sliced my pears.] Treat to prevent darkening [I soaked my pears in a 10% lemon juice solution for 10 minutes.] Combine sugar and water in a large saucepot; bring to a boil. Cook pears in the syrup one layer at a time until just tender, about 5 minutes. Place cooked pears in a large bowl; set aside. After all pears are cooked, continue cooking syrup until thickened, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat; add brandy. Pack pears into hot jars, leaving ½-inch headspace. Ladle hot syrup over pears, leaving ¼-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Adjust two-piece caps. Process 15 minutes in a boiling-water canner.


  1. I made a batch of these pears, but am a little concerned about the alcohol content. Is the alcohol content removed, or are these pears considered "adult only"? I am so excited to try them, but worried about giving them to my kids.

  2. Alcohol never full cooks away. According to the USDA's Table of Nutrient Retention Factors Release 5 from 2003, when alcohol is added to boiling liquid and promptly removed from the heat 85% of the alcohol is retained. Some more is going to evaporate when the jars in boiled in the boiling water canner as well. But lets assume worst case scenario that 85% of the alcohol is retained. That means we start with 48 tbsp of alcohol (or 3 cups) and we add the alcohol to the boiling mixture. Fifteen percent of the alcohol will burn off leaving us 48 tbsp * 0.85 = 40.8 tbsp. Divide the 40.8 tbsp of alcohol equally among each pint jar leaves us with 6.8 / 5 = 8.16 tbsp of brandy in each pint. A pint is 32 tbsp, so that means each pint is 8.16 / 32 * 100 = 25.5% alcohol. This assumes that the brandy is 200 proof or pure alcohol (proof in the United States is defined as twice the percentage of alcohol by volume so 100 proof is actually 50% alcohol.) The liquor that I used in this recipe was 40 proof or 20% alcohol. This means that the 1.36 tbsp of alcohol in each pint is actually reduced to 8.16 * 0.40 = 3.264 tbsp of alcohol per pint. Meaning that each pint is 3.264 / 32 * 100 = 10.2% alcohol. I do not serve these pears to my kids except when I bake with them in small quantities. It is theoretically possible to become intoxicated from the pears. I would use caution when serving this to children. Lastly, to put it in perspective a little more, pure vanilla extra contains at least 35% alcohol.

    USA chart: I could not find the primary source for this chart. I apologize about refrencing a secondary source.

    Definition of proof:

    Amount of alcohol in vanilla extract:



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