Nectarous and fruity, pears are fabulous to use in both sweet and savory applications. They can be enjoyed raw, dried, or cooked to add loads of flavor and texture to a dish.
Pears store well in a cool, dry place, but as with most fruit they don’t last long once ripe or cut. Freezing is a great way to preserve pears and prevent food waste. There are a few ways to prepare pears for freezing to ensure the best preservation of flavor, texture, and color.
Read on to find out everything you need to know to successfully store your pears in the freezer.
Types of Pears
There are hundreds of pear varieties produced across the globe, depending on seasonality and climate. Although all pears have a similar flesh color, their shape, texture, skin color, and taste vary slightly.
The outer skin of pear can be green, red, yellow, or brown with its shape being pear-shaped or round. Some pears have a sweeter taste while others present a more neutral flavor. Certain varieties are crisp and firm while some varieties are ideal for cooking.
Pears are popular in fruit salads, savory salads, used in tarts, puddings, cheese platters, as dried fruit, pear compotes, juices, pastry fillings, and even in a sorbet. If not eaten raw, they are usually baked, spiced, roasted, dried, or poached.
Can I Freeze Pears?
Yes, pears can be successfully frozen. Despite the many different types of pears, they all require the same preparation and treatment prior to freezing.
Preserving pears in syrup for freezing will result in optimal color and texture on thawing, especially if you are planning to use them uncooked.
If the pears are going to be transformed into a pie, freezing them dry or coated in granular sugar is best. In this case, you could even add spices to your pears before freezing.
Follow the below steps to make sure you get the best out of your frozen pears.
How To Freeze Pears
Pears should be frozen when fresh and ripe. Do not freeze unripe or overripe pears.
Step 1: Clean
Wash, peel, and core the pears. Once cleaned, cut the pears into halves, quarters, slices, or cubes as preferred for freezing.
Step 2: Prevent Discoloration
Mix 3 tablespoons of lemon juice with 3 cups of water and soak the pears for a few minutes directly after cutting them. The acid-water mixture prevents the pears from browning.
Step 3: Prepare and Pack
The method you choose to prepare your pears may depend on how the pears will be used once thawed.
Method 1: Sugar Coat
Sprinkle granulated sugar over the sliced pears and toss to coat well. Portion the sugar-coated pears into appropriate amounts for freezing according to the amount you would need to thaw at any given time.
Pack each portion into a resealable freezer bag and press out any air before sealing the bag to prevent freezer burn.
Method 2: Sugar Syrup
Another way to preserve pears is by submerging them in a simple syrup. The result after thawing will be similar to canned fruit. This method is ideal if you are planning to use the pears uncooked after thawing in a fruit salad or on a cheeseboard.
A medium syrup is recommended for the freezing of pears. To create your syrup, dissolve 2 cups of sugar in 3 cups of lukewarm water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and stir until all the sugar is dissolved. Add the cut pear chunks or slices to the hot syrup for 2 minutes.
Drain, keeping the syrup to the side, and cool completely. Do not pack the pears or syrup while warm. Pack the cooled pears into resealable freezer bags. Remove excess air before sealing to prevent freezer burn.
Alternatively, you can portion the pears into airtight freezer-friendly containers and cover the pears with the cooled syrup. Place a piece of parchment paper against the surface of the fruit to keep it submerged in the syrup and protected from the air before closing.
Method 3: Dry Freeze
This method is best used for pears you are planning to cook after thawing.
Line a baking sheet with wax paper and spread the pear slices across the sheet. Place the baking sheet into the freezer just until frozen. Remove the pears from the baking sheets and pack them into freezer bags in the desired portions. Remove as much air as possible before sealing each bag.
Step 4: Label and Freeze
Keep track of how long the pears have been stored by labeling each container or freezer bag with the date before placing it in the freezer.
How To Thaw Frozen Pears
To defrost, remove the pears from the freezer and place the container or bag in the fridge. It is best to put the container or freezer bag onto a plate or in a bowl to catch any water running off the container during thawing. Leave overnight to defrost. If frozen in a sugar syrup, stir the mixture occasionally.
Pears are such a versatile fruit that it is sad to see them go to waste. Make sure you freeze your pears before they become too ripe, and use them for months to come, even after the harvesting season is over.
Enjoy them in breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert dishes, baked, poached, or pureed. Finally, there is a way to enjoy all your favorite pear treats both in and out of season.
Up Next: Can You Freeze Cantaloupe?
Image by depositphotos/AndreySt