Here’s everything you need to know about freezing pears. Learn how well they freeze, how to go about the process, and what are the best ways to use frozen pears.
Have too many pears on hand and wonder about ways to preserve the fruit? Can you freeze pears?
Pears freeze okay. Pears brown and soften after defrosting, so they work best in cooked and baked dishes. To freeze pears, cut them into quarters, pre-freeze on a cookie sheet, and transfer them into a freezer bag to freeze for the long term.
That’s the gist of it.
Now, there’s much more to it, including:
- how freezing affects pears
- how exactly you should go about freezing pears
- defrosting methods
- ways to use frozen pears
If you’d like to learn more about any of those topics, read on.
Do Pears Freeze Well?
Pears soften and brown after freezing and thawing. That means they work well in almost any cooked or baked dish but aren’t good enough to put in a salad, eat as a snack, or add to a dessert.
(Unless you don’t mind soft pears that are brown in your fruit salad, of course.)
In short, frozen pears have limited uses, but there are still quite a few options to use them. Especially, if you’re into baked goods.
When it comes to how a frozen and defrosted pear tastes and feels, it’s similar to a baked pear or a baked apple. The whole thing is soft, a bit mushy, and there’s no crunch. That’s why it doesn’t fit well into salads or salsas.
Overall, freezing is the best method of preserving pears that’s not canning. It limits how you can use the fruit afterward but doesn’t require any special equipment or skills. All you need is some basic kitchen equipment and a few spare minutes.
Now, you might be here because you’re wondering if you can freeze pears for smoothies. I’ve good news for you:
You can freeze pears for smoothies, and they work wonderfully in anything that requires you to use a blender. There isn’t any special preparation involved; the standard freezing method I describe in this article works just fine.
Last but not least, make sure the pears that you freeze are ripe. And remember that ripe pears last for over a week in the fridge, so you might still have some time to use them up.
Knowing all of the above, let’s discuss some specifics on freezing pears.
How to Freeze Pears
The method that I outline below is sometimes called the “dry pack” method, as it doesn’t involve adding anything to the fruit before freezing it.
There are other methods, for instance, sugar pack or syrup pack, but both require using a bunch of sugar and need a bit more hands-on time. I don’t like either of those qualities, so I recommend the dry pack method.
Here’s how you freeze pears:
- Prep. Wash, peel, and core the pears. Then, cut them up in a way that makes sense for how you’re going to use them. If you don’t yet have a plan, quarters are a good option, but you can just as well dice them. It’s easier to pre-freeze larger slices, though.
- Pre-freeze. For starters, line a baking sheet with a silicone mat of baking paper. You can still pre-freeze the fruit pieces if you skip the lining, but they’ll freeze to the sheet and be difficult to scoop. Next, transfer the slices onto the tray and arrange them in a single layer so there’s not a lot of touching (i.e., there are no clumps). Put that sheet in the freezer for 3 to 4 hours, or until the pears freeze solid.
- Transfer. Take the cookie sheet out of the freezer, separate any pear slices that froze together using a spatula, and transfer everything into a freezer bag. Label the bag with the name and date if you like, squeeze out the air and seal it tight.
- Freeze. Chuck the bag in the freezer.
This method is as simple as it gets and only takes around 5 to 15 minutes of active time, depending on how many pears you’re freezing. That’s why I think it’s the best method of preserving pears without using sugar.
Now, let’s cover some additional questions you might have.
How Long Can Pears Be Frozen?
Try to use the pears within three months of freezing them.
As usual, the longer they sit in the freezer, the worse the quality you should expect.
That said, it’s not like they’re going to be terrible if they’re frozen for three and a half or four months. They’re probably going to be just fine.
But if yours sit in the freezer for like a year, it’s probably best to use them in a dish that doesn’t rely on their taste. Smoothies work great in such as scenario.
Is Pre-freezing Necessary?
No, it’s not.
Pre-freezing allows you to store all the pieces in a single bag and still be able to grab as many as you need when needed. It gives you the option of defrosting only a few slices if that’s what you need.
But if you’re freezing a portion of pears that’s exactly right for the recipe you’re going to use them in, there’s no need for pre-freezing. The pears will freeze together, but you’re going to defrost all of them together, so that’s not an issue.
Can You Freeze Pears With the Skin On?
Sure, if that’s what your recipe requires.
But if you’re thinking about postponing peeling your pears until they are defrosted, that’s not a good idea. As I already mentioned, pears soften after freezing and thawing, and you probably know that peeling a firm veggie or fruit is much easier than working with a soft one.
If you’re going to peel the pears anyway, you might as well do that before freezing.
How to Defrost Pears
Defrost your pears overnight in an airtight container or freezer bag in the fridge. Depending on size, they’ll need 2 to 8 hours until they’re fully thawed, and that’s why I suggest starting the process the night before you need them.
Once defrosted, there will be some water in that container or bag. Here’s what that looked like in my case:
Make sure to discard that water before you use the fruit pieces.
If your recipe’s texture is too chunky or dry when using defrosted pears, add an extra teaspoon or two of water to fix it.
While the fridge is the default defrosting method, sometimes you might be able to skip defrosting.
For instance, if you’re making a smoothie, you can add the pears frozen, assuming that your blender can handle ice cubes.
The same is true for most dishes that you cook on the stove: you throw in frozen pears and cook the whole thing a few minutes longer to allow them to defrost and warm up.
Now that we have gone through both freezing and defrosting, we can talk about recipes that make sense for frozen and thawed pears.
How to Use Frozen Pears
Not sure how to use your frozen pears? Here are some examples:
- Smoothies. Smoothies are the easiest way to use up frozen fruit, and pears work great in smoothies.
- Muffins. Fruit muffins are another popular option. I used this recipe to make the muffins I photographed for this article.
- Pies. Apple pie and pumpkin pie aren’t the only options. Pear pies are also a thing.
- Cakes. If you can add it to a muffin, you can probably use it in a cake. Here’s a recipe to get you started.
- Bread. Pear bread is another option if you’re looking for something sweet to bake for breakfast. Check out this recipe if you’re interested. And if you’re worried that a whole loaf will be too much for you, you can always freeze half of it. All types of breads freeze well, including zucchini bread and banana bread.
Related: Can you freeze zucchini bread?
Of course, the list above isn’t complete, and it only features some of the more popular options. You can quickly find tons of other recipes online.
If you already have a favorite pear recipe that’s cooked on the stove or baked in the oven, try making it using your frozen pears. Chances are it’s going to turn out just fine.
Freezing Pears FAQ
Can You Freeze Whole Pears?
Yes, but this method has a couple of downsides:
- A defrosted pear is soft, making it a bit difficult to peel and core. Prepping the fruit before freezing is a better choice.
- You have to defrost the whole pear, which is no good if you only need a quarter or so to add to a recipe.
- Thawing a whole pear takes longer than defrosting a quarter.
All in all, neither of the cons I listed is a big deal. If you don’t care about any of them, feel free to freeze the whole pear, especially if it’s either you’re going to freeze it whole or not at all.
To freeze a whole pear, just chuck it into a freezer bag, squeeze out the air, and throw it in the freezer. The same method works for freezing whole lemons.
Can You Freeze Canned Pears?
You can freeze leftovers from canned pears following the method I outlined in the article; just dry the slices before pre-freezing. But if you’re thinking about freezing an unopened can of pears, don’t do that.
First, canned fruits (any canned food, really) last months, if not years, past the printed date. So even if your can is nearing or past its date, you can still safely use it. And as you might imagine, using fresh, canned pears is better than using defrosted canned pears.
Second, the cans are filled with liquid, which might cause the jar to burst in the freezer if you just put it in there as-is. You don’t want that to happen.
All in all, if you feel like you must freeze your canned pears, open them up, discard the liquid, and freeze the pears dry.