Guest Fan Post #5 from Vera and Phyllis – Recipe for Pear Preserves

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I am pleased to present our 5th fan post on The Southern Lady Cooks from Vera Guthrie and Phyllis Salmons.

Thanks so much to The Southern Lady Cooks (Bless Her Heart!) for allowing us to tell you about one of our favorite treats of our childhood — Pear Preserves!

Our Mama, Addie Davis Salmons, a widow, built a house in the outskirts of Winston-Salem, NC in the early 1970s. Before long, she planted an apple tree and a pear tree in the backyard. Over the years, her family has reaped the benefits — that is, the fruits of her labor. From the apples, she made stewed apples, fried apple pies (from reconstituted dried apples) and Apple Butter.The pear tree frequently produced so much fruit that the limbs bent under the strain of the weight. Vera’s mother-in-law, Maude Guthrie, once weighed a pear and it came in at three pounds! Phyllis has often said, “That pear tree doesn’t owe us a dime!” because the cost of the sapling that was planted has been recovered time and time again. From the pears, Mama canned Pear Preserves. It was a delight when months later we could enjoy them with fresh homemade biscuits and a cup of hot coffee (if we were allowed). At times they were served as breakfast and sometimes, a “dessert” when there were biscuits not eaten from supper.

Here is how Mama put up the preserves:

Pear Preserves




*Using two parts pears to one part sugar


Wash, peel, core, and slice pears into thin slivers. Place the sugar over the pears and let them sit overnight in the sugar.

The next morning, cook slowly on low to medium heat until the juice that results starts to thicken. When the pears turn amber in color and start to foam, they are almost done — it will take about three hours.

As soon as the amber color occurs and the syrup is thick* enough, start putting the pears and syrup into clean jars and tighten lids. As the jars cool they will seal.

*The best way to tell is to check if the syrup is thick enough is to put a drop on a plate and be sure that it runs slowly when the plate is tipped.

Mama is no longer with us, but Vera and her husband Jack still care for those trees, since their home was built next door to Mama’s house. Along with Apple Butter, Vera and Jack put up Pear Preserves to be enjoyed whenever the spirit moves. When a sibling visits from out of town, it is a given that pear preserves and biscuits will be served!

Our brother Garland lives in Hawaii, where he and his wife retired after his career in the Navy. A few months ago he called Vera for the recipe and then he made some for himself. Having experience in food preparation in the Navy, Garland was happy to dig into his own fresh hot biscuits and his new batch of pear preserves!

Now you know how to do it too! Enjoy!

Living in Winston-Salem, NC, Vera works with a non-profit agency helping senior citizens, especially in matters regarding budgeting and finances.

Phyllis is a college professor who has spent many years teaching physics to students, aspiring to enter the aviation and space industry. She lives in Daytona Beach, Florida.

Thank you so much Phyllis and Vera for bringing this great recipe to us today! You can leave Vera and Phyllis a comment either here on the blog or on facebook.

If you would like to submit a recipe post, you can find out how here.

You can view all guest fan recipe posts here.



  1. this is how I make mine only I use whole cloves. I use a large bottle of cloves to a roast pan full of peeled and cut pears. I love the taste of cloves so this may be a bit much for some.

    • CHERYL DELGADO says:

      Thank You for your comment on the pears, cloves. that”s how my mother G. CHRISTMAS
      made them now i’am teaching my children.

  2. Wanda Keeter says:

    Can these be canned?

  3. I would like to make the pear preserves but my mother used to put Whole cloves in hers can u tell me if it was 2lbs how much cloves can i put. Thank u in advance

  4. My “Mamaw” made pear preserves which I dearly loved, but my favorite was the pear syrup. Does anyone know hot get it thick without burning?

    • I use this recipe, Pear Honey, 8 cups of pear juice (from peelings), 4 cups of sugar, juice of 1 lemon. Sterilize canning jars. Measure juice, bring to a boil. When boiling vigorously add sugar and lemon juice. Boil rapidly until the consistency of honey. Pour into hot jars, leave 1/4 inch headspace. Wipe jar rims and adjust lids. Process 5 minutes in a boiling water bath. Hope this helps you!

    • Cook it low and slow… stirring the bottom of the pan regularly. It will get browner the longer it cooks. Try looking up recipes for pear honey. I leave the pear chunks in while cooking. Strain off the syrup without mashing the pears. You can put the pear chunks in a seperate jar. They are GREAT on toast or fresh hot bread. Almost like candy!

  5. Thank you for this wonderful recipe! Brings back memories of my grandmother Corajane.

  6. I have used this recipe for years. It is wonderful. My son can eat a whole jar by himself in one setting. It is so easy anyone can do it.

  7. I have a really good friend that adds a can of crushed pineapple and some chopped pecans to her pear preserves a few minutes before they are done. These are so good, that you can just eat them right out of the jar. You don’t even need a hot buttered “cathead” biscuit.

  8. My Mother uses the same recipe! I love love the Vintage Vera Cookbook-it is full of great recipes : )

  9. What memories this recipe brings to mind!! My mama used to make pear preserves from her pear tree, and they were the BEST!!!!! This is like her recipe, so I will make this recipe for sure. Thank you for bringing my mama back in such a great way!!!

  10. Yum! And I always have extra pears to can!
    Thank you so much for sharing 🙂

    • My Mom always makes pear preserves, but I am not sure what type of pear.I now live in Illinois and the only pears we have are from the store. I agree, nothing better than a hot homemade biscuit and pear preserves for any meal. I grew up in Mississippi,so I dearly love my southern food!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. Yum! Sounds like a great tradition carried forward and now shared with the world! Thanks Vera and Phyllis!!

  12. I love that your readers are telling such nice stories too. These preserves look wonderful and I like that she keeps them simple.

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