Pickled pears

Pickled pears

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(16 ratings)

Prep: 45 mins Plus a month storing


Makes enough to fill a 1-1.5 litre kilner jar
A stylish and gorgeous treat, spooned out of the jar with a little of the syrup

Nutrition and extra info


  • kcal-
  • fat-
  • saturates-
  • carbs-
  • sugars-
  • fibre-
  • protein-
  • salt-


  • 1 lemon or orange



    Oval in shape with a pronouced bulge on one end, lemons are one of the most versatile…

  • 10 cloves



    A clove is the dry, unopened flower bud of the tropical myrtle tree family used to flavour a…

  • 2 tsp black peppercorn, lightly crushed
  • 1 tsp allspice berries, lightly crushed
  • 5 cm piece fresh root ginger, sliced
  • 1 litre/1¾ pints cider or white wine vinegar



    Cider is an alcoholic beverage made from the fermented juice of apples. Apple orchards were…

  • 2 cinnamon sticks



    A fragrant spice which comes from the inner bark of a tropical tree. When dried, it curls into…

  • 1kg bag caster sugar
  • 2kg small pears



    Like apples, to which they are related, pears come in thousands of varieties, of which only a…


  1. Pare the zest from the lemon or orange and put in a pan with the cloves, peppercorns, allspice berries, root ginger, lemon or orange juice, vinegar, cinnamon sticks and sugar. Stir over a gentle heat until the sugar has dissolved.

  2. Peel, core and halve the pears, then add to the pan and simmer for 15 mins, until the pears are tender. Remove the pears with a slotted spoon and put in a colander to drain. Meanwhile, increase the heat under the syrup and boil rapidly for 15 mins, until the syrup has reduced by about a third and slightly thickened.

  3. Pack the fruit into warmed jars and pour over the hot syrup to cover. Seal, label and store in a cool dry place for a month before using.

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Comments, questions and tips

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28th Sep, 2018
This recipe needs no tweaking whatsoever. It's gorgeous as it is. I've made it three years running as I have a very generous pear tree. One thing I have found is that you get enough syrup to cover at least a further kg of pears. Pack them into warm jars whilst still hot for a good seal. They will keep at least a year, I was pleasantly surprised to find a jar lurking in the back of the cupboard from last year. What a treat!
30th Jan, 2017
Surely the recipe means 'cider VINEGAR or wine vinegar. Vinegar is the preservative so if it's not used it's not a pickle and the pears won't keep long. I always make pickled peaches in the summer when they are cheap. We eat them at Christmas and they are always good.This recipe is similar so l expect these keep just as well. Allowing it to cool before potting stops the fruit from rising to the top of the jars but I favour potting whilst hot as possible to keep out organisms that could cause mould.
19th Oct, 2016
I was a little disappointed how the recipe was written. Due to the vagueness of the list of ingredients which stated "cider or white wine vinegar", I now believe, on reflection, that I should have used cider vinegar and not pure cider. Should I have made an error I now have 2 kg of spiced cider pears. Who knows, by accident, I may have developed a new pear accompliment for ginger cake or various desserts.
30th May, 2014
These are amazing, wonderful on a bed of rocket with one of the sweet cheeses e.g. Wensleydale and ginger crumbled over and dressed with balsamic glaze. Perfect to use up a glut of pears.
26th Nov, 2013
Absolutely stunning! I wasn't too keen on using 100% vinegar or 100% cider so I went with 2/3 pear cider and 1/3 apple cider vinegar and I'm glad I did. I left out the ginger because I didn't have any and substituted rosemary a la River Cottage. After packing the pears away into their jars, I found myself running my finger along the bottom of the saucepan like a kid, mopping up the last dregs of sweet, sour, herbacious syrup. I must say, the rosemary added a whole new element to the recipe and I will always add it from now on. I tasted one of the pears after 24 hours and had to stop myself devouring the entire jar. I'm going to make another two batches to give as Christmas gifts.
7th Dec, 2012
Not too sure about this one .found the vinegar overpowered. Everything very strong smell and taste .had loads of extra syrup left over as well .might improve with age I hope .
5th Dec, 2012
Totally delicious! The syrup is amazing and the pears only seem to improve with age - I made my first batch about 2 months ago and they are just getting better and better! We've enjoyed these with good sliced ham, homemade chicken liver parfait and they are fab with cheese and biscuits - particularly anything blue and creamy - YUM!
28th Oct, 2012
Made to give as Xmas pressies - didn't have all spice so used some nutmeg and star annise - syrup is lovey - hope I can keep them till Xmas!
23rd Dec, 2011
Gave as gifts last year and went down a storm - so much so the kilner jars were returned to me to be filled again this year!!! Yummy. The bags of 'fun size' pears you get at supermarkets for kids lunchboxes are a perfect size. Easy to make & great as a starter with pate or potted stilton.
tbilisi's picture
16th Oct, 2011
Eat them with cold meat. Yum.


16th Nov, 2019
Can this be made with any other fruit? Apples, for examples?
Stell's picture
12th Sep, 2019
I cannot source any Allspice Berries, what can I use in it’s place and how much of it should I use?
goodfoodteam's picture
14th Sep, 2019
Thanks for your question. As this recipe already contains cinnamon and cloves which combine to make a good alternative, we'd suggest adding a grating of nutmeg or simply leaving it out altogether.
19th Oct, 2016
Should I use pure dry cider or cider vinegar as the recipe does not make it absolutely clear?
goodfoodteam's picture
31st Oct, 2016
Thanks for your question, you need to use cider vinegar in this recipe. Sorry for the confusion.
22nd Dec, 2013
I love the sound of this - but how long will it keep, does anyone know?
21st Jun, 2017
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