pears in a teal bowl on a wooden table

Holiday Pear Conserves


5 from 1 vote
This Holiday Pear Conserve is a low-sugar cooked conserve made with Pomona’s Universal Pectin. Pomona’s Universal Pectin contains no sugar or preservatives and jells reliably with low amounts of any sweetener. This recipe was created by Allison Carroll Duffy for Pomona’s Universal Pectin. She says: Besides being delicious, this conserve is extremely versatile, which makes it great to have on hand during the busy holiday season.
Servings 5 cups


  • 2 pounds pears
  • ½ cup dried apricots finely-chopped
  • ½ cup raisins
  • ½ cup chopped pecans (dry without any oil) toasted
  • ¼ cup orange peel minced
  • cups orange juice fresh-squeezed
  • teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ teaspoon ground powdered ginger
  • ½ cup lemon juice bottled
  • 4 teaspoons calcium water see step #1
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 teaspoons Pomona’s Universal Pectin mixed with sweetener


  • Before You Begin, prepare calcium water.
    To do this, combine ½ teaspoon calcium powder (in the small packet in your box of Pomona’s pectin) with ½ cup water in a small, clear jar with a lid. Shake well.
    Extra calcium water should be stored in the refrigerator for future use.
  • Wash and rinse jars, lids, and screw bands. Set screw bands aside until ready to use. Place jars in boiling water bath canner with a rack, fill at least 2/3 of the way full with water, and bring to a boil. Boil jars for 10 minutes to sterilize (add 1 additional minute of sterilizing time for every 1000 feet above sea level), then turn down heat and let jars stand in hot water until ready to use. Place lids in water in a small pan, bring to a low simmer, and hold there until ready to use.
  • Peel and core the pears. Dice the pears (approximately 1/2-inch dice) and place in a sauce pan.
  • Add the chopped apricots, raisins, toasted and chopped pecans, minced orange peel, orange juice, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger to sauce pan.
  • Cover the mixture and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer, still covered, for 6-7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the pan from the heat.
  • Transfer the mixture into a bowl or other heat-proof container, then measure out 4 cups of the mixture. (If you have any left over, you can use it for something else.) Pour the measured quantity of the mixture back into the sauce pan. Add the lemon juice and calcium water, and stir to combine.
  • In a separate bowl, combine the sugar and the pectin powder. Mix well and set aside.
  • Put the sauce pan on the stove and bring the pear mixture up to a rolling boil over high heat. Add the sugar-pectin mixture, then stir vigorously for 1 to 2 minutes, still over the highest heat, to dissolve pectin. Return conserve to a boil, then remove from heat.
  • Remove hot jars from canner and fill jars with conserve, leaving ¼ inch of headspace. Remove trapped air bubbles, wipe rims with a damp cloth, and put on lids and screw bands, tightening bands only to “fingertip tight” (until resistance is met, and then just the tiniest bit more).
  • Place jars in the hot water, on the rack inside the canner. (Make sure jars are upright, not touching each other or the sides of the canner, and are covered with at least 1-2 inches of water). Place the lid on the canner, return the canner to a rolling boil, and boil for 10 minutes. (Add 1 minute additional processing time for every 1000 feet above sea level.)
  • Allow jars to cool undisturbed for 12-24 hours. Then, confirm that jars have sealed. Remove screw bands from sealed jars, rinse off outside of jars if necessary, label jars, and store for later use.

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9 Responses

  1. Marty
    | Reply

    I’m confused by the amount of orange peel. Are you adding pith and rind to this recipe or am I misunderstanding?

    • Shelby Collings
      | Reply

      Yes, we are referring to mincing the rind with minimal pith. Though you could simply zest the orange if you would prefer!

  2. Linda
    | Reply

    I’ve been canning for a long time and this is the best jam I’ve ever made. I used small currants instead of raisins because I like them better and I baked it up into a mince pie at Christmas. It was AMAZING. Linda

  3. Karen Kuster
    | Reply

    What can I use instead of nuts? My grandmother has no teeth so she can’t chew them

    • Shelby Collings
      | Reply

      Hello Karen,

      You can simply omit the nuts!

  4. Karen Kuster
    | Reply

    Just use the same amount of honey as called for sugar?

    • Shelby Collings
      | Reply

      The honey will measure at half the amount of sugar. So if it calls for 1 cup of sugar you can use up to 1/2 cup of honey or maple syrup.

  5. Barbara
    | Reply

    Can I make this with honey instead of sugar?

    • Shelby Collings
      | Reply

      You sure can!

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