Pear Vanilla Jam

pear vanilla jam

Despite the fact that I’ve now made this jam twice in as many weeks, I don’t have any pretty progress shots of it. I made it once with a class and another time for a video shoot, so there just weren’t any moments to snap a few images. However, it tastes so good that I didn’t want to deprive you all of the opportunity to make it just because I wasn’t able to make time for photography.

This is truly a transformative jam for vanilla lovers. Flavor-wise, pears are fairly retiring, so they provide a perfect platform for the vanilla to shine. What’s more, when cooked, the pears take on a translucent, golden-y hue that allows all those vanilla bean flecks to show their stuff.

pear vanilla jam on toast

Last Saturday night, we had a party to celebrate my husband’s 34th birthday. As in traditional in our little family of two, we put together a board of eight cheeses for our guests. I pulled out a couple of jars of jam to serve as accompaniment, but it was this one that got all the love. Paired with a runny triple creme, people were speechless with the goodness of it. Because I’m a girl who loves to share, I gave all the other jars away as late night party favors and now I’m totally out (I finished off the jar you see above yesterday). I may have to make another batch, so you may see those pictures yet.

Note: Often I’ll tell you that you can substitute vanilla extract for the more pricey beans. However, I do not recommend it in this recipe. Splurge a little and get the two beans. They are a vital ingredient in this recipe and I just don’t think you’ll be happy with the outcome should you make a substitution.

Pear Vanilla Jam

Yield: Makes 3.5 Pints (fills seven half pint jars)


  • 8 cups chopped Bartlett pears (or any smooth, thin-skinned pear. There’s no need to peel.)
  • 2 vanilla beans, split and scraped
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 1 packet liquid pectin


  1. In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, combine chopped pears, sugar and vanilla beans (and all that bean-y goodness you scraped out). Cook over medium heat until the fruit can easily be smashed with the back of a wooden spoon. Use a potato masher or immersion blender to break the fruit down into a mostly-smooth sauce (remove the vanilla bean solids before blending).
  2. Add the pectin and bring to a rolling boil. Let boil for a full five minutes in order to active the pectin, so that the finished product will have a nice jammy consistency.
  3. Fill jars, wipe rims to remove any residual jam, apply lids (heat canning lids in a small pot over very low heat while you’re preparing the jam to ensure a good seal) and screw on the rims.
  4. Process the filled jars in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes (start the timer when the pot has returned to a boil). When the time has elapsed, remove jars from pot and place the jars on a towel-lined countertop. Let them cool undisturbed for at least two hours. During this time, the lids should seal. Check to ensure the jars have sealed by pushing down on the center of the lid. If it feels solid and doesn’t move, it is sealed.

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274 responses to “Pear Vanilla Jam”

  1. I’m so sorry! I am still kicking myself that I didn’t have the camera out for beautiful progress shots during the party! Next time!

  2. This looks amazing and inspiring for February! Do you have an approximate weight for your 8 cups of chopped pears? Maybe 4 lbs?

  3. Lindsay, my local produce market sells pears by the piece instead of by the weight, so I didn’t weigh them (I know, bad recipe writing blogger). I can tell you that I used 12 good sized pears. I imagine 3-4 pounds would do it.

  4. Oh man. I was at the party on Saturday night and will personally attest to the awesomeness of this jam. Have it alone. Have it on toast. Have it on a room temperature triple creme cheese. It’s phenomenal! And to make everyone feel even worse, I went home with a lucky pint.

  5. this looks divine! And it’s definetly on the to-do list!
    But for us who live in other countries – how much liquid pectin is “one packet” of liquid pectin?
    Inquiring minds do inquire…

  6. I’m going to make this, too! I’ve gathered everything I need except for the pectin. Can’t seem to find anyone local that sells it though. You have introduced me to a lot of local farmers/markets (Reading terminal for one) that I’ll be making the trip to very soon *Thank You*! Do you purchase pectin local or do you order online? I’m always talking of what you write about here to my BF & he’s always saying, “who’s Marsia?” haha

    • Jean, I typically buy my pectin at the Cherry Hill Wegmans. You can also get it from I’m really thrilled to hear that I’ve turned you on to so many places. That’s so great!

      • Thanks, Marisa! I’ll check out Wegmans. I’ve seen it on Amazon & Ball sites, but was hoping you’d suggest something local ;0)

        Also, can you substitute the sugar with Stevia (Natural suger sub)? From what I’ve found, 4 c. sugar = 4 tsp of (powdered or liquid) Stevia. What are you’re thoughts?

        • Jean, you can’t use a sugar replacement in this recipe and expect to get something similar to a jam made with sugar. If you’re interested in making lower sugar jams, you should look into Pomona’s pectin. However, if won’t have the same consistency as a jam made with sugar, because sugar plays a vital role in helping achieve the set and texture of the jam.

          • I know this comment is WAY late and you’ve probably already made your jam by now…..unless you have those pears frozen in time somehow. Anyway, I use Pomona pectin all the time and I have used sugar subsititues such as honey or rapadura. The flavor of the jam does change slightly, but the actual consistency of it is the same as if I’d used sugar. Hope that helps! 🙂

  7. Just a word about vanilla beans–buy them on Ebay. I paid $4 for about 10 beans, and you can find other similar deals! They came sealed and when I opened them, super moist and fresh. Really, order them online. The only other place I can get them in town sells them 2 for about $7, so I will be hitting up Ebay again soon!

    • Just a tip for anyone who has a decent co-op and wants to make this sooner than ebay can deliver the goods. I expected the Co-op would be more expensive, and I was totally wrong. At my local food co-op in the bulk section, vanilla beans are priced at $1.17 each. I’m pretty sure they are organic, and there were multiple varieties to choose from. It is more expensive than your ebay beans, but substantially cheaper than the conventional grocery store.

  8. Looks sublime and sounds delish! One question before I attempt the recipe: do you peel the pears before chopping? Looks like there is peel in your pic.

    • I do not peel the pears. However, I only use thinner skinned pears when making this jam (as specified in the recipe). If you use a thicker skinned pear, you may want to peel them.

  9. My favorite goodie-in-a-jar I made this year was the vanilla cinnamon pear butter… I’m in LOVE with the flavor combination! I can’t help but hoard the last 3 jars…

  10. Beautiful and one I’ll try.
    Question on pectin — do you need it? I’ve been trying recipes out of the Blue Chair Jam book and she seems to go for the long cook time (and getting to 220 degrees). Also, you use the liquid (Certo?) pectin a lot; what do you think about the powder version? Have you ever used the Pomona Universal brand (different yet again?)


    • I’ve not made this jam without pectin, so I really can’t speak to how it will turn out without it. I use liquid pectin (preferably the Ball brand) because I like the consistency it delivers. Powdered pectin sets up too hard and I really don’t like the gelled consistency that Pomona’s Pectin creates. However, feel free to try it anyway you’d like and see how it turns out.

  11. Marisa, I live in Fairbanks, Alaska where produce isn’t of the best or ripest qualities. (It was years before I knew that peaches and nectarines aren’t supposed to crunch like apples when you bite into one). Should the pears be very rip and yellow? I’m sure I could paper-bag them. Unfortunately, many things just kick-the-bucket before they ever ripen.

    • Ginny, the pears don’t have to be super ripe. It’s good if they have a little bit of give, but they can have some crunch and still work with this jam.

  12. I am new to this site and this recipe is definitely one for me!
    Question: Can I omit the pectin all together – meaning, does the fruit have enough sugar along with the added sugar to gel on its own – especially with the skins added (where a lot of the pectin comes from)? I’ve had a lot of luck with other fruits, especially apples, in not using pectin. Thanks so much!

    • Lyn, I have not made this jam without pectin, so I don’t know how it will work without pectin. Pears don’t have as much innate pectin as apples do, so it may be runny. However, you can certainly give it a shot.

  13. I’ve never canned before but am always inspired by your blog and this recipe sounds yummy and easy enough for me to try. I can’t seem to find liquid pectin. Should it be down the jello aisle where the powdered pectin is?

    • Rachel, I couldn’t find it either but when you shop go to the courtesy counter and ask for it. Turns out that my store puts them away until spring. They were able to check the back & they did have some. And yes, they (mine anyway) do stock them in the jello isle. If they say they don’t usually stock it, ask them to start and request they order you some! Chances are they will.

  14. Perfect timing! Pear Jam on the to-do list this afternoon. Was going to peel them, so thanks for that tip. Plus the vanilla. I’m going to stir in some bits of dried strawberries at the end for little flecks of red. Wish me luck!

  15. I made this jam over the weekend, and it turned out wonderfully. It’s such a lovely consistency and delicate flavor! Thanks for the great recipe! (By the way, I used just shy of 4 pounds of pears to get 8 cups)

  16. Ok, I found the liquid pectin. I made my first batch of jam on Sunday. When I turn the jars on their sides, the jam moves. Is that normal or does it mean it didn’t jell enough? I opened a jar and tasted it and it tastes good, but I feel like it’s got a thick applesauce texture. Is that right??

    • Rachel, even with the addition of pectin, this will not be a firmly set jam. I think the description of it as a thick applesauce is probably right about on.

  17. I made this over the weekend and it is fantastic! Once I arrived home from picking up the pears I realized that I only had powder pectin on hand. Rather than returning to the store, I attempted it with powder pectin. It set up more jammy than described above. So it you are looking for a more jammy consistency, a box of pectin powder will do the trick.

  18. This jam is over-the-top delicious. I made ate, we loved it and I have given half of the batch I made away (only to people I love a LOT!). Thank you so much for the recipe.

  19. I made a batch of this today and added a couple of knobs of ginger, finely sliced, and a couple of squeezes of lemon juice. I am still waiting for the jam to cool and set, but it tasted pretty amazing from the extensive taste testing I did while it was on the boil. I also used pectin powder as opposed to the liquid form, and also half covered the pears in water to extend the cooking time and allow the fruit to soften more so I could avoid mashing it (I’m a big fan of chunks of fruit in jam).

  20. […] pears are plentiful and stay firm when cooked. I used them to make pear and vanilla jam from this recipe. So I ended up tossing the lot in the blender to make for a more jam-like consistency. This is a […]

  21. Thanks for a pear recipe. I’m always looking for some way to use up all the pears we have from 4 Barlett trees.

  22. For anyone wondering about making this jam without pectin, I made a half-batch today with lemon to replace the pectin, and it turned out GREAT! To replace the pectin, I juiced one lemon and saved the seeds and the rind halves. I chopped my pears and mixed the pears, sugar, vanilla beans, and lemon juice and let it macerate about an hour while I sterilized my jars and put the baby down for a nap. I put my lemon seeds in a little muslin bag (reusable tea bag), added the seeds and rinds to my fruit, and brought it to a boil. Cooked it at a hard boil until it reached 220 (adjusted for altitude, about 208). I used the chilled plate method to test for set. Once I was happy with the set, I pulled out my lemon halves, seeds, and vanilla bean halves and jarred up my jam! A half batch got me just a little shy of 2 1/2 cups. It is seriously SO good!

    • This sounds so good! I like the addition of lemony goodness to what already sounds like a great recipe. So you used 4 cups of pears and 2 cups of sugar, 1 bean and 1 lemon? Just want to make sure- thanks!

    • I have been reading this site for the first time. Never done this before but have found your comments and addition of the lemon and pips a good one. I have loads of pears, not sure of what they are called, but made about 12 bottles of canned pears. Now i want to use up the last of the pears for jam so found this one interesting. I am new in Canada and not sure where to get all the vanilla pods and pectin, but will do my best and let you know how it goes. I have been a jam maker and canner for many years, so thanks for this blog.
      Oh, I found a lot of can bottles at a thrift store, but only the outer metal rims, no tops or seals. Can anyone tell me where I can find those? Bottles end up being quite expensive just buying them from the store. Thanks.

  23. You mentioned that you served this jam with cheese. Here in Germany it’s common to serve a cheese board with feigensenf, literally fig mustard. I think it’s a fig chutney. Would you like the recipe?

  24. […] if the name isn’t enough to scare you!  We made three different jams this time: Vanilla Pear (the sweetest of the three), Balsamic Strawberry, and Cherry Apple Jam.  My favorite was the […]

  25. I made this last night and it is phenomenal! This was my first time using vanilla beans. I am now in love with vanilla beans…and this recipe! (I’m thinking a vanilla bourbon jelly will be my next project using the beans!) Very yummy. Thanks for sharing!

  26. Just finished this jam. Wow-wee-wow-wow-wow!

    I used a red smooth-skinned pear called Stark Crimson, which is grown here in Oregon. It made the jam a lovely light golden-pink color, and the vanilla flecks still show beautifully.

    I’ve already tried some smeared on a baguette with a bit of Humboldt Fog chevre. One bite convinced me that this combo will be the main event on my Thanksgiving dinner hors d’oeuvres platter.

    • Many computers allow you to highlight just the text you want and then simply print selection. I haven’t had a chance to install a plugin that makes it easy to print (though that’s on the very lengthy to-do list).

  27. Just took my batch out of the water bath. Thank you for sharing such a clear, simple recipe! This was my first solo canning venture and I am absolutely elated! I’ll be sure to update on the final product.

  28. I literaly just finished this freaking fantastic jam and its in the water bath and OMG its amazing. I had 2 plump vanilla beans so I only needed one, the 2nd and thats all I would of tasted but that just means I will now be making a second batch!

    From one Portland girl to another you blog is great and so are your recipies.

  29. Hi there! I LOVE this jam!!! Any thoughts on doing it with a bit less sugar? I’m okay with it being a bit looser, but will it compromise the safety of the canning?


    • Reducing sugar doesn’t compromise safety in canning, just the set of the gel and to some extent shelf life after opening. If you want a jam consistency with less sugar either use a low-sugar pectin (I recommend Pamona’s) or omit pectin and cook for longer as described above. :0)

  30. I recently made your pear vanilla bean jam. The recipe on your website doesn’t call for water, but in the video you posted, you add a cup of water. I added a cup of water and it came out too runny. Do you typcially add water or not? Thanks.

  31. I do have to say, I read this recipe and it inspired me. I am not a pear fan by any means, I just don’t like to consistency of pears when you bite into them but this time of year we get so many pears in our co-op basket that I have to do something with them! This last week I gave half away but for some reason kept 3 with this post in the back of my mind. Right now I have 3 pears mascerating in the fridge with a vanilla bean! I can’t wait to make this jam as I think it would be wonderful with Brie en Croute! Thank you so much for the inspiration!

  32. Funny story about vanilla beans, I was at our local grocery store and spent about 10 minutes looking through the spice aisle and then finally gave up and asked someone if they had vanilla beans. Well, they didn’t know vanilla comes from beans and suggested I check the ethnic food aisle. After 10 minutes at the ethnic food aisle I returned to the spice aisle and read every single label until I came upon……Madagascar Vanilla Beans? At $15.00!? For 2 BEANS? My husband would kill me!

    Would it be a travesty to add vanilla extract instead of the beans? I read that you can get them for cheaper online but I was wondering about the use of the extract…I LOVE your blog and am so inspired by your recipes and creativity with food. Thanks!

  33. Oh my! So good. I was going to skip pears altogether but this looked to good to pass up and I’m so glad I canned one more thing. Perfect for holiday cheese trays. Umm… Or just eating off a spoon. Shhhh…don’t tell anyone.

  34. I’ve never used vanilla beans… What exactly do I do with them in this recipe? Do I leave the bean in there? I have pears and I’m planning to make this soon! Please explain more about the beans!
    Thanks you.

  35. I made this yesterday and I’m not a huge fan. It smelled fantastic while cooking but today when I served it on pancakes it wasn’t as vanilla-y as I would have liked. It was good, but not as good as the raspberry amaretto jam I made last week. Maybe my vanilla beans weren’t high enough quality. With all the rave reviews this recipe has received I have to assume it was user error. Perhaps I’ll try again with fresher beans.

  36. I just made this jam and love it, but it’s a bit too sweet for me. Can I cut the sugar in half and still have it turn out ok?


  37. Well, I’ve changed my mind. After letting the jam sit for about a week and trying it again. (This time on toast.) I am in love with it’s soft and subtle flavors. The raspberry amaretto I made is bold. This jam serves a very different mood, so I made a mistake in trying to compare them. I am very pleased with this jam, and I’m sure I’ll be making it again.

  38. just used this recipe for my first time ever canning. can’t wait to do more! thank you for sharing great recipes on such a fantastic blog!

  39. I just made this, thinking of using it as Christmas presents – I’m completely delighted. I’d had high hopes for other canning projects as gifts (homemade grape jelly, apple butter, hot veggie mix) but none of them really seemed special enough until this recipe. I wasn’t sure what kind of pear to use, since it isn’t specified, but I chose bartletts and they worked great. Thanks for a wonderful recipe and an addictive blog!

  40. Marissa- I made it and love the flavor, but because my pears were not that ripe I cooked it down too long so with the added pectin it’s extremely firm. Thoughts? Its canned already and I want to make another batch should I mixed the previous batch with the other with out pectin? Or am I asking for trouble.

    Also other serving suggestions other than goat cheese?


  41. Hi! I just made a batch of this, and think it’ll go great with cheeses. It’s almost to sweet to eat alone, and I was really surprised at the flavor – its so mellow compared to the strawberry jams. It reminds me of French farm breakfasts: third of a warm baguette with a soft cheese and an apricot jam spread on top and a bowl of black tea. Thanks so much for this recipe!!

  42. I just made a batch of this after finding pears on sale for a dollar a pound – it is incredible! My 5 and 3 yr olds ate some straight from the pan mixed with plain yogurt. I am also thinking it would make an amazing filling for layer cake … And this is just the perfect amount to make – thanks so much!

  43. Darnit! I have no vanilla beans and pears are on sale this week. Unfortunately the only place to get them in my small town are the $7/bean type jars at the grocery store. Pear butter with cinnamon it is! And I’m ordering some vanilla beans from ebay today so next time I’m prepared!

  44. You can often find vanilla beans in the bulk bins at natural food stores. I am able to find them for about $2/bean.

    • Thanks for that tip, Christen! I often check the bulk section for spices & herbs that I don’t use often because I can get smaller amounts for less $, but for some reason I never thought to check there for vanilla beans.

    • Yay! They had vanilla beans in the bulk spice section. While not as inexpensive as ordering online, it was still a better deal to get 8 organic beans sealed in a zip-lock bag for the price of 1 or 2 beans in a jar from the baking aisle!

  45. hey :). i made a variation of this jam last night, and i was wondering if i could save the vanilla bean and put it in vodka? (for the extract) or would that not work? i plan on adding more beans to it.. but 1 bean costs $5 so im trying to skimp…
    thankyou 🙂
    ps. i love your recipes 😀

    • You could certainly rinse the vanilla bean off and put it in a bottle of vodka. That’s not enough vanilla to totally create extract, but if you continue to add beans to the bottle, over time it will develop a nice aroma. If you’re going to be using a lot of vanilla beans, I recommend buying them in bulk over the internet. I like, they have good prices and fast shipping.

  46. I love your blog and your recipes are fabulous! I am a newby when it comes to canning, made dill pickles for the first time last year and they were a hit with my three boys. This year I decided to branch out a bit. I made this jam last night and it smells so good, can’t wait to try it! I have also made the bruschetta, and the dilled beans, plan to make the peach jam this weekend. Thanks so much for your advice and expertise!

  47. Marissa, I followed your receipe to the “T” but my jam came out very runny. I canned it and will call it a sauce but was wondering if you had any suggestions on how to fix some of the jars and make it thicker.

  48. I made it tonight!! My husband and son loved it!!! I am new to canning and am totally in love with it! I did go a bit overboard with my purchasing of pears so I am wondering can I double the recipe with no problems?

    • Make two batches do not double for most fruit and jams. Fruit butters normally you can double as it does not depend on the ratio of fruit to pectin mix the pectin is in the fruit. If the butter is not frim enough use some tart apples in the next batch.

  49. Just made this and it turned out fantastic. I can’t wait to give away jars as gifts..but on second thought, I may keep it all to myself!

  50. Just finished making the pear vanilla jam, the recipe worked beautifully, thanks so much! I notice in the pear cinnamon jam (which seems to be the same recipe with a different flavor profile) that there is no pectin, can the pear vanilla jam be made without pectin as well?

  51. This recipe sounds really good. Can it be made with powdered pectin? And what adjustments would be necessary? Thank you!!!

  52. Yum! This is divine! I had it at a neighborhood party with cheese and fell in love with it. I made a batch yesterday and added about 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom, with great results. Next time I will make it in a deeper pan, as it spattered a lot while cooking and I would prefer to keep it all in the pan instead of on my stove! 🙂

  53. Up until last night my husband has been pleasant about my jam making, but rarely ate any of it on his own. When I asked him to taste the Pear Vanilla Jam his eyes lit up and he declared it the best thing he had ever eaten! After dinner I noticed that he was trying it on bread, brownies, and shortbread. This morning he asked if when we go to the farmers market I would buy pears to make more jam. ^_^. Thanks, Marisa, for another winning recipe!

    P.S. I didn’t quite have 8 cups of pears so added one pear apple that retained some body, and a small red apple that left beautiful little red flecks throughout the jam.

  54. I would love to make this jam and some of your other recipes…but I would like to use a different pectin. I looked at a liquid pectin and it had BHT or some other preservative in it which I would like to avoid. So I have Ball RealFruit Low or No Sugar Pectin. Can I substitute? I could also get another regular pectin if that would be better but I would prefer to use a powder. Thank you for the lovely recipes and website!

    • Linda, the low and no sugar pectins react completely differently from the traditional pectins. If you want to use a traditional powdered pectin, you can substitute 2 tablespoons for every packet of liquid pectin. If you want to make this a low sugar jam recipe, I recommend going for Pomona’s Pectin and following their directions for jam, cutting the amount of pectin in half.

  55. I made this recipe yesterday, thank you for sharing, it was a huge hit.
    We’re heading to Hood River this weekend. I’ll be buying more pears.

    • Hi Marissa,
      I took your advice on the Facebook page regarding adding nuts to this recipe. I omitted the vanilla, added lemon zest, juice of 1/2 lemon, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and 1/2 C chopped Hazelnuts, it could take more cinnamon but it still tastes great.
      Thanks for posting my pear party photo.
      I love your website!

  56. I’m planning on making this jam, but noticed in your YouTube video for this same jam you added a cup of filtered water to this recipe. I’m just wondering which way I should do it, with or without the water, since the recipe here doesn’t call for it. Also, have you ever tried making it without pectin (ala your pear cinnamon or pear lavender recipes, which are similar but use lemon juice)? Thanks for a great and inspiring blog, I have just ordered your cookbook!

    • Bobi, the recipe with the water leads to a softer jam and a slightly longer cook time. You could try to make this without pectin, but it will have a softer set than it has with the pectin.

  57. Please help, Marisa! Yours is the first jam I’ve tried making and I followed the directions to a T. I don’t think it “jelled” enough, though, and need some advice.
    1. was I supposed to let it boil after adding the pectin until it was thick and jam-like and *then* put it in the jars and process it?
    2. (here’s an odd one for you) can I – well, un-do it? pour it back in the saucepan and boil it longer to get it to “jam up”?

    It’s not totally runny, by any means, but it certainly isn’t jam.
    Thank you for any help you can give me.

  58. I have made two batches of this jam and it’s wonderful. I used Nielson-Massey Madagascar Vanilla Bean Paste which I buy at my local grocery, $10.00 for 4 oz.; 1 tablespoon = 1 vanilla bean or 8 beans per jar. I actually find that I get a better, cleaner vanilla flavor than I do with real vanilla beans in recipes such as this one where the vanilla is front and center. I make a vanilla bean ice cream with the paste that always gets raves as does this jam. Thanks for sharing.

  59. Hello, I made this recipe today and it smelled and looked so good, tasted pretty good licking the spoon with the leftovers.
    What can I do with the leftover vanilla bean pod? I cooked it with my recipe so it has been cooked, so instead of throwing it away, which I hate to do because they are so expensive, is there anything I can do with the pods??

  60. This is the first jam I’ve ever made on my own and I’m pleased overall with the results. Thank you! However, I do have a few questions. You do not specify which type of liquid pectin to use. Certo apparently makes a regular version that says one must use 7+ cups of sugar or the recipe will not set up (blue box) and another version that is for low to no sugar (pink box). I gambled and bought the blue box. Since I wanted to use your quantity of sugar (4 cups) I disregarded the Certo box’s admonitions about using more sugar. I also added 1/4 C. of fresh lemon juice to perk it up a bit. And because I like spicy foods, I added some diced chili peppers from our garden, thus making it “Pear Vanilla Pepper Jam.” The result was more the consistency of a fruit spread than a jam. I’m happy with it but wonder if I used the wrong pectin based on your instructions?

    • Debra,

      If you only use 4 cups sugar it’s considered to be “low sugar” jam & you would need to use low/no sugar pectin. The main difference between regular pectin & low/no sugar pectin is that the regular pectin uses the sugar to create the chemical reaction that causes the jam to gel. In low/no sugar pectin they add calcium to the pectin to cause the chemical reaction instead of the sugar. If you really don’t like the consistancy of the jam you can recook it, but it will require you to buy new lids for your jam jars.

    • Yes. Swap in two tablespoons of powdered pectin for every packet of liquid pectin called for. Whisk the pectin into the sugar before combining it with the fruit.

      • Is this rule for all recipes (jam) or just this one? So many call for liquid, butI rarelyhave that on hand. Thanks so much for all you share! If you do a weekend in Southern central PA or MD I am so there!

          • Marisa, I just ran across your site recently and had no idea sites such as yours existed. SO interesting and helpful. I’m sorry. Due to the last ice storm two years ago (we were on a generator for 22 days and my husband turned my freezer up to 30 degrees ! ! ), I have the equivalent of 84 pints of peach slices, packed in a variety of fruit juices (mostly white grape), taking up space in my freezer that have lost their texture and no one will eat them. I want to make a last ditch effort to salvage them by turning them into a sweet spread of some sort. I’m thinking jam, but am open to suggestions. Something simple; I’m not good at telling when to quit, but am going to try out the candy thermometer tomorrow. What do you think? Thaw out 8 cups peaches/juice; add 3.5 cups sugar; bring to boil; add 2T powdered pectin; then boil pretty hard till it hits 220? Please, lend me some expertise. I’ve overcooked so much good fruit (not that this is; but, it WAS). What would you do? Thanks.

            • I’d go for peach butter, probably. It cooks for so long that the loss in texture shouldn’t matter. Look in the recipe index for the first post on fruit butters, it will give you the basics. They should also be good in smoothies.

  61. Thanks so much for this recipe – Happens to be my two favorite flavors in the world! I used Keifers from our backyard tree. Next batch (oh yes, there will definitely be many more batches) I’d like to reduce the sugar, because our pears are super sweet. Should I use more pectin, cook longer, etc? I’d like to avoid low-sugar pectin if possible, because I live in a small town & it’s very difficult to find.

    • JaxTex,

      If you add too much pectin your jam can get super stiff or even gritty. If you can’t find low sugar/no sugar pectin I suggest buying some from Amazon (or walmart, etc).

  62. This jam was very easy to make, and a big hit with my family. I used regular pectin instead of liquid, I peeled the pears, and I used a potato masher once the sugar had all liquified. I used 4 oz jam jars and the batch made 12 4 oz jars & 2 8 oz jars. Plenty of jam for sharing around. Thanks for the recipe! 🙂

  63. […] What a relaxing Saturday morning. For the first time since having baby I was able to make time for a bit of canning. We got 4 pears in the CSA box this week and my hubby doesn’t really eat fruit, nor do I like pears, so it seemed a perfect candidate for some processing. At first we were thinking pear butter (I happened to see this recipe yesterday), or pear sauce, but when I looked through my favourite canning blog this morning, I was inspired by the recipe for Pear Vanilla Jam. […]

  64. Thanks so much for this recipe. I have made it 3 time now with a couple of alterations. I added cinnamon and I cut the sugar in half. I also used Pamona’s Pectin which allows for much less sugar. My question for you is does it need lemon juice added for safety with these changes? Pamona’s paperwork called for 1/4 cup lemon juice for every 4 cups of cooked pears. I thought pears were acid enough on their own? I put some lemon juice in each time I made it, but I imagine the flavor is quite different without it. Can I lesson the sugar (1/2 the amount) and use Pamona’s Pectin without adding the lemon juice and still be safe to can? Thanks for your help!

  65. I made this for the first time 2 weeks ago…..and it’s gone! Such a huge hit with family and friends. We ate a whole jar with blue cheese and crackers.
    This recipe is so easy to make I whipped together another batch last night while dinner was in the oven.

  66. thank goodness one of those jars didn’t seal. otherwise i’d feel way worse about keeping one for myself. so yummy! pretty color, too, spotted all over with little vanilla seeds. very nice one. i’m thinking oatmeal, yogurt, ice cream? and, of course, cheese.

  67. […] Let me back up a minute and explain. As I mentioned a while ago, a friend gave me some beautiful Asian pears from his family’s tree. Needless to say, I ignored every warning on the internet about how canning low-acid fruit will kill you, and made a pear vanilla jam from them. Don’t worry, I’m keeping it in the fridge. (Recipe via Marisa at Food in Jars.) […]

  68. Is it possible to substitute real vanilla extract for the vanilla beans in the Pear Vanilla Jam recipe?? If so, how much vanilla extract? Thank you!

  69. Is it safe to sub in some high quality vanilla paste for the vanilla bean in this recipe? Thanks in advance!

  70. I recently read a recipe in which butter was added to the jam being made and it blew mind. Lol. I have yet to try it, but is it ok to add butter to jams and then can them. Does it affect the preserving process? Could I do it to this one?

    Both nervous and excited!!!

    Thanks, M.

    • When you add butter, you do it to control the foaming action of the jam, and you only add 1/2 teaspoon or so. So it doesn’t impact the safety because it’s such a small amount.

  71. This Jam was very good but after making another pear jam, it had more of a true “pear” taste. I think it was because the other recipe had less sugar. I would make this again but with less sugar. I would try at least 1 cup less of sugar, maybe 2 1/5 to 3 cups of sugar per recipe. This recipe definetly has a strong vanilla flavor which masks the pear taste also. So just be aware of that if you are looking for a real strong pear flavor.

  72. Bummer, as a pear novice I didn’t know I had asian pears cooking until I read through the comments. Good thing I did! I ended up finishing and then instead of water bath canning I froze the results. I’m hoping to find a use for them (they are tasty!)

    Suggestion: You might want to note not to use Asian Pears in the instructions for those of us not as pear familiar.


  73. I’m new to canning and up until now all my batches have turned out great (only 4 in total). This recipe was way too thick and sticky. It also only made 1 1/2 pints for me. I took it off before the full 5 mins after adding the pectin because I could see it was just getting too thick. What I can’t figure out is if I just cooked it down too long or if I added too much pectin. I added 2 tbsp of the powdered pectin. Also, I added 1 1/2 tablespoons of lemon juice because I wanted it a little less sweet (I used anjou pears). Did the lemon juice change anything? Any help in figuring out what I did wrong would be great! Also, is there a way to fix it?

    • It sounds like you cooked it too long. That’s what would account for the texture and the smaller yield. And, if it was really thick before you added the pectin, you probably didn’t need the pectin at all.

      • Thanks, good to know! Love your new book. I’ll be trying the pear chocolate next and I’ll keep this in mind when trying it.

  74. Thank you for what looks like an excellent and delicious recipe!
    I have a couple of questions re. substitutions because I’m in Europe and not in the US. I’ve never seen pectin for sale over here, so can I use preserving sugar in place of normal sugar and add the lemon zest and juice?
    I’m also very interested in the “Processing” part. In Britain and Ireland – where I’m from – people make jam, cover it with a disc of waxed paper and screw on the lid while hot. I don’t recall ever having seen anyone boil the jam for a few minutes after that. I’ve just read the ‘Canning 101’ and was curious to see that it’s commonplace in the US, and safer to boot, but is it suitable for all kinds of jam? I’m going to make marmalade tomorrow and I don’t want to ruin a good batch of preserves by boiling it to bits 😀

    • I don’t know how much pectin is in preserving sugar, but I imagine you could give it a try.

      As far as processing goes, it shouldn’t impact the finished quality, it just sterilizes the finished product and makes for a longer lasting product.

      • Thanks for taking the time to answer, I appreciate it. I guess I’ll just give it a whirl and see what the result is. I boiled my marmalade and it seems to have survived the process. I’ll make a second batch and I won’t process it, just to see if it makes any kind of difference – making marmalade for science, and all that.

    • Unfortunately, you can’t just swap a liquid sweetener for honey. I have a Pomona’s Pectin version of this recipe that I sweeten with honey going into my next book, though.

  75. I tried this recipe but I used Bosc pears…I thibk it was the wrong pears because my jam looks more like apple sauce. I allowed the jam to boil as directed by this recipe & it just won’t set. Should I throw out the batch? I’m at a loss.

    • This is a softer set jam. It will always have some movement in the jar, so it sounds like you didn’t do anything wrong and it’s just as it should be.

  76. Hi, I made this jam this morning only I used peaches. WOW! Better than candy. My house smells amazing. I have both your canning books on the Kindle and love the wonderful ideas. Thanks!

  77. This looks amazing. I hope we get some good pears in my local green grocer soon so I can try it. I shared it yesterday on my Facebook page, Cooking with Whole Grains & Real Whole Foods. I can almost smell it cooking, just reading the recipe. Thank you!

  78. I just made this and oh my stars! SO amazing!! I’m so-so with pears, they’re nice but I certainly don’t put them in my top 5 fruit loves, but somehow this sounded special – and it did not disappoint. Very delicate flavor and the vanilla beans, (not vanilla extract!) is a key to the gorgeous flavor you get. I will HAVE to go get more pears and make more for gifts! Thanks!!

  79. This sounds awesome – I usually make pear preserves but this sounds delicious and much easier! Can you please explain “packet of liquid pectin”? In our area, it is usually found in a jar. Do I use the entire jar? Or we have powdered sure jell available…… Suggestions? I am not sure what size packet you are referring to.

    Do you think vanilla bean paste could be substituted?

    Thank you! I have some fresh picked pears and will be trying this tonight if I can find the right pectin!

  80. Hi I would love to make this for my parents but they are both diabetic. Is there a substitution that would work in place of the sugar? Thank you

    • Unfortunately, there’s not an easy swap to make this recipe with a sugar substitute. You’d need to use a pectin designed for low and no sugar canning, and then use the sugar replacement of your choice.

        • I don’t add sugar or pectin to my recipe. I boil down the pears with a tablespoon of water. After the fruit is boiled down and is mashed as described in the recipe above, take it off the heat and I add 3-4 tablespoons of honey (adjust to your personal taste and nutritional needs) and stir the honey in well (I add the honey after it comes off the heat so I don’t destroy the health benefits of the honey by overheating it). This results in more of a compote than a true jam because it doesn’t have the pectin, but it is similar enough that it is enjoyable and has significantly reduced sugar. You can even, quite frankly, eliminate most of the honey for your diabetic parents and its still really good if the pears you start with are really sweet (just past ripe works best). And since it uses honey and not sugar as the sweetener it has some additional health benefits (especially if you use raw local honey).

          • Is it still safe to can in the way you described? I made this and found it to sweet but was afraid to mess with the recipes.

            • It is no longer safe to can….you can make it and put it in jars in the fridge, but it should not be water bath canned. Way to many people play Russian roulette with messing with recipes and canning.

  81. I have never canned before, do these jars of jam need to be refrigerated? And how long are they good for? Thanks I am making this right now!

    • Once the jars are fully sealed, they are shelf stable and do not need to be refrigerated. Once you open the jars, they do need to be refrigerated. While sealed, they are good for up to a year. Once in the fridge, they keep for a couple months at least.

  82. Pectin question, please (I think I’ve seen this here, but want to make sure): I’ve made this delicious recipe a couple of times, and just now noticed your pear cinnamon jam recipe. I see that one does not use liquid pectin. Can I make this recipe WITHOUT the pectin? Or can I use the other (cinnamon) recipe and add 1-2 scraped vanilla beans? I have delicious local pears! Thanks!

  83. This is a fantastic tasting and very versatile jam! It is definitely a recipe I’ll use again and again. I liked the suggestion of trying it with a creamy cheese, so I baked a wheel of Camembert with this on top and it was a really delicious combination. I also used it as a topper on plain cheesecake…mmmmmmm!

        • Amy, it really doesn’t matter that much. You need to leave enough headspace so that the jar will seal properly and not so much that the product will oxidize or that the jar will float in the canner. I prefer to us 1/2 inch for most things, but 1/4 inch also works.

  84. This recipe looks amazing!!! I am definitely going to try it soon! I was just wondering if I decreased the sugar, would it still set? Thank you!

    • It’s not going to set as well if you decrease the sugar. You’ll be better off if you swap in a low sugar pectin. Perhaps use this recipe with pears instead of strawberries.

  85. Do I put the whole vanilla bean in there I have always used extract but I am going to get the bean for this i just am not sure what to do with it thanks

    • You split the bean lengthwise with the tip of your paring knife. Then you use the flat of the blade to scrape out the seeds. Then you add both the seeds and the scraped pod to the cooking jam. At the end of cooking, fish out the pod before canning.

  86. Making this recipe again after skipping last year. This is our favorite neighbor Christmas gift and people were wondering where their pear vanilla jam was! Thank you for such an amazing recipe!!

  87. Marisa, I have your book Food in Jars and love it! Could I make this recipe in my Ball Jam & Jelly Maker. I bought the thing a couple years ago but have been hard pressed to find great recipes (like this one) that can be made using the appliance.

  88. This looks delicious. I was wondering if you could tell me the brand of the liquid pectin you use. I usually use Pomona’s Pectin but it is a mixture of calcium water and pectin. Thanks.

  89. Thanks so much for your last reply. I have bosc pears – do you think they need to be peeled since they seem a little thicker skinned than the bartlett?

  90. How can I lower the sugar in this recipe? I love the flavors but found it was to sweet for my taste. Could I leave out the pectin lower the sugar and cook it down more and just have a softer set?

    • You’d need to use a different kind of pectin to make this in a low sugar manner. I’d suggest looking at some of the other recipes on the site that employ Pomona’s Pectin and use the techniques and ratios of sugar to fruit that they offer as a guide.

  91. I made this four years ago & really liked it. Yesterday I was gifted with a big bag a ripe pears from a neighbors tree & made this jam again. Wow- I’d forgotten how lucious this jam is!

  92. I made two batches of this yesterday. It’s delicious, but is not setting up. More like syrup. The jars sealed, followed the time tables. This is my first canning attempt, so not sure if there is a remedy.

  93. […] With Vanilla ~ Food in jars has a recipe that’s also quite similar, again with a good bit of sugar, she also adds liquid pectin.  I avoid liquid pectin on principle because it contains chemical preservatives (sodium benzoate, etc) that I don’t want in my jam.  It’s also not necessary when working with a high pectin fruit like pears.  She doesn’t peel the pears, which is a labor saver, and the jam looks spectacular.  The addition of two scraped vanilla beans is a delectable idea though. […]

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