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5 from 1 vote

Pickled Asian Pears with Lemon


  • 2 pounds Asian pears or any other sweet, firm pear (3-4 pears)
  • 4 2-inch pieces of lemon zest
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 4 slices pickled ginger or several slices of fresh ginger if you don't have pickled
  • 11 ⁄2 cups sugar
  • 11 ⁄2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 cup white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons mirin


  • Select pears that are firm and on the small side. Peel them, cut them into quarters, and core them.
  • Combine the lemon zest, lemon juice, ginger, sugar, salt, vinegar, and mirin in a medium nonreactive saucepan off-heat; don’t worry that the sugar is not yet dissolved.
  • Add the cut pears to the pan to coat them in the acidic brine.
  • Meanwhile, fill a second medium saucepan with water and bring it to a simmer.
  • Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pears to the simmering water, leaving behind as much of the brine as possible.
  • Simmer the pears until they turn white and are just cooked through but still quite firm, about 6 minutes.
  • The pears should be pierced easily with a fork, but you don’t want them to overcook and get mushy.
  • Drain the pears and transfer them to 2 clean pint jars (I used a single quart jar), packing them tightly and tucking them under the curved “shoulders” of the jar.
  • Bring the brine pot to a boil, uncovered, stirring to dissolve the sugar, about 2 minutes.
  • Once it’s boiling, turn off the heat. Divide the ginger and lemon zest between the two jars.
  • Pour the brine over the pears in the jars to cover completely (reserve the leftover brine).
  • Tighten the lids on the jars immediately and let them rest on the countertop for 1 day before moving them to the refrigerator.
  • The pears are ready to eat in 3 days, but taste even better after 5.
  • They will keep their flavor for about a month in the refrigerator, but the color will begin to change after 2 weeks.


This recipe is reprinted from Karen Solomon's e-book, Asian Pickles: Japan, published by Ten Speed Press.