Pear Pickle by Darina Allen

Pear Pickle by Darina Allen

This recipe from Darina Allen’s ‘Forgotten Skills of Cooking’ book (Kyle Books, 2010) also features in Michael Kelly's book, ‘Grow, Cook, Eat' and has been given to us by Michael.

Michael tells us that....'I used it for the first time last year, and we just loved it in our house – the sweet and tangy pears work beautifully with meats, game and blue cheese but also as dessert.' 

Serves 12 | 45 mins prep


  • 1.8kg (4lb) pears (Conference or Doyenne de Comice are perfect, but Bartlett pears will also suffice)
  • juice and zest of 1 organic lemon
  • 600ml (1 pint) of white wine vinegar
  • 30ml (1fl oz) sherry vinegar (optional)
  • 600g (11⁄4 lb) sugar
  • 2.5cm (1in) piece of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 1 cinnamon stick, 2 star anise, 4 cloves


Peel, core and quarter the pears and put them into a stainless-steel saucepan. 

Remove the lemon zest with a swivel-top peeler, squeeze the juice over the fruit and toss well. Cover and cook on a gentle heat while you prepare the pickle.

To prepare the pickle, put the vinegars, sugar, spices, and lemon zest into a stainless-steel saucepan. Bring to the boil, stirring until all the sugar is dissolved. 

Simmer the pickle for 5 minutes, then add the pears and continue to cook until the pears are completely soft – about 10-30 minutes, depending on the variety and degree of ripeness.

Fill the pears into sterilised jars, while continuing to cook the liquid. 

Pour the boiling liquid over the pears, making sure they are well covered. 

Seal the jars and, if possible, leave for a couple of weeks to mellow before tucking in!

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