Sweet and spicy pickled pears

A great topping for salads and more!

I love topping a bowl of greens with fruit all year round. Having jars of pickled fruit in the fridge makes it even easier – add some chopped nuts and you’ve got a salad packed with colour, flavour and texture. These pickled pears take just a few minutes to make and are ready to enjoy the next day. Beautiful pears from Warner’s Farm in my Ottawa Farmers’ Market Farmers’ Feast basket were the inspiration for this quick pickle. As you can see below, I served them up on a bed of local hothouse greens dressed with a vinaigrette made with Terra Foods olive oil from the Ottawa Farmers’ Market along with delicious mini quiches from Almonte’s Savoury Pursuits, also at the Market. It was the perfect quick brunch that delivered a lot of taste with minimal effort – an ideal holiday menu! The pickled pears would also make great edible Christmas gifts.


  • 2/3 cup (160 mL) cider vinegar
  • 2/3 cup (160 mL) water
  • 2 tablespoons (30 mL) creamed or regular honey
  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) coarse salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) whole cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) black peppercorns
  • 1/2 small Thai Bird’s Eye Chili or other hot pepper, thinly sliced (1/2 tsp or 2.5 mL)
  • 1 inch (2.5 cm) piece of fresh gingerroot, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 large lemon
  • 3 medium pears, ripe but still firm


  • Put everything but rosemary, lemon and pears in a small saucepan.
  • Heat, stirring occasionally, until honey and salt are dissolved and mixture is steaming hot.
  • Remove from heat and let cool while you prepare the pears.
  • Peel four strips of lemon zest (approximately 1/2 inch x 2 inches each) and set aside.
  • Cut the pears in half (do not peel) and remove core and stem. Cut into thin slices and start packing them into two clean 1 cup (250 mL) canning jars.
  • Add the rosemary and lemon rind to the jars along with the pears.
  • When the jar is tightly packed with pear slices, rosemary and lemon rind, ladle the warm brine overtop, being sure to include the cloves, peppercorns, ginger and hot peppers.
  • Fill jar to within 1/4″ of the top.
  • Cap and let sit on the counter till cool, then refrigerate.
  • Once the pears have been in the fridge for 24 hours, they are ready to eat. They can be stored in the fridge for up to two weeks, but should be eaten promptly as after two weeks, they will start to become extremely soft.

Makes two 250 mL jars.

To serve the pickled pears on a salad, use the pickling brine to make a great vinaigrette. In a small jar, combine 3 tablespoons (45 mL) brine with 1 teaspoon (5 mL) Dijon and 3 tablespoons (45 mL) good quality olive oil, along with a few grinds of salt. Shake well to blend.

Author: Paula Roy

Welcome to my kitchen! I love simple dishes prepared with passion and am always seeking to find new methods to make food as fun and flavourful as possible. If you enjoy this space be sure to check out my Rogers TV Ottawa cooking show, Paula Roy's Favourite Foods, available on local cable, streaming and a dedicated playlist on Rogers TV's YouTube channel.

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