How to Make Pear Relish


Homemade pear relish typically contains an acidic ingredient like vinegar, a sweetener such as sugar, salt, and seasonings, and ripe, but firm, pears. The variations on these components are endless. Pear relish can be canned, cooked and refrigerated or made fresh. Which method you choose largely depends on how many pears you have and when you plan to use them. Choose traditional canning if you have a large amount of pears and want the relish to last months, and refrigeration for pear relish that lasts around two weeks. Make it fresh if you only have a few pears and want to enjoy the relish immediately.

Things You'll Need

  • Pears, washed and dried, any variety
  • Peeler
  • Sharp knife
  • Bowl
  • Fruit, fresh or dried, chopped, if needed
  • Lemon or lime juice, freshly squeezed
  • Honey
  • Seasonings, such as spices, hot peppers, garlic, minced onions, salt, pepper and fresh or dried herbs, as desired
  • Plastic wrap
  • Colander
  • Saucepan
  • Sugar
  • Vinegar
  • Food chopper or processor
  • Vegetables, such as onions, celery and bell peppers
  • Large bowl
  • Large stockpot
  • Pint canning jars, sterilized
  • Boiling water canner
  • Tongs

Fresh Pear Relish

  • Peel the pears, if desired. Chop and place them in a bowl.

  • Add your choice of dried fruit or chopped, firm, fresh fruit. Choices include tart apples, mangos, grapes, peaches, apricots, kumquats or dried cranberries. Stir to mix.

  • Mix in freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice and honey. Use one part honey to two parts juice. Allow to marinate at room temperature for approximately 10 minutes.

  • Stir in your choice of seasonings, such as olive oil, minced green or white onion, fresh or dried hot peppers, chopped fresh herbs like parsley or mint, salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings, if needed. Serve immediately.

Refrigerator Pear Relish

  • Peel the pears and dice them into small cubes. Mix them with kosher salt in a bowl, using 1/4 cup for every six medium-sized pears. Add diced vegetables for seasoning, if desired, such as chopped onions and jalapenos.

  • Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight.

  • Put the pears in a colander. Rinse them thoroughly under running water.

  • Place the rinsed pears in a saucepan. Add equal parts sugar and vinegar. Stir in any additional seasonings desired, such as dried fruit, freshly chopped garlic or ginger, or spices like cinnamon.

  • Boil the relish mixture. Lower the heat and allow to simmer, uncovered, until the relish is thick, about 25 minutes.

  • Cool to room temperature. Serve immediately or refrigerate in an airtight container, then serve cold later.

Canned Pear Relish

  • Peel, core and chop all pears using a food chopper or processor. Wash, trim, stem, seed and peel vegetables such as celery, onions and sweet red or green bell peppers, as needed. Chop each into pieces comparable in size to the chopped pears.

  • Put all the chopped produce into a large bowl. Stir in sugar, vinegar, salt and any desired seasonings. Use one part sugar to 1 2/3 part vinegar and 1 tablespoon each salt and seasonings for every 2 gallons of pears you are using.

  • Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Put in the refrigerator overnight.

  • Transfer the relish mixture to a large stockpot. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cooking for 5 minutes.

  • Divide the relish between sterilized pint canning jars. Leave 1/2-inch headspace in each jar.

  • Put the lids and screw bands tightly in place. Process the jars in a boiling water canner for approximately 20 minutes.

  • Use tongs to remove the jars from the canner. Allow to cool completely. Check that the jars are sealed by pressing down on the lid of each. The relish is properly canned if the lids do not move up and down when pushed.

Tips & Warnings

  • Experiment with different types of pears in the same relish. Options include Bartlett, red or green Anjou, Comice, Bosc, Starkrimson or Concorde.
  • Try mild pear relish as a topping for poultry or seafood. Pair spicier relishes with pork or ham.
  • Discard any refrigerated or canned pear relish that becomes discolored or that gives off an unpleasant odor.


  • Photo Credit Sarsmis/iStock/Getty Images
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