How Long Do Pears Last? Should You Refrigerate Them?

You bought a bunch of pears, and you’re not sure how long you can store them until they start to spoil. How long do pears last?

Or maybe you’re not quite sure if you should put the pears you’ve purchased in the fridge or leave them out in a fruit bowl.

If either sounds familiar, this article is for you. In it, we cover:

  • how many days you can store pears (hint: it depends on whether they’re ripe or not)
  • how to speed up ripening unripe pears
  • choosing pears in the grocery store based on whether you want to eat them right away or store for a week or even more

Interested? Read on.

Info

The information below works for all types of pears, including Bartlett, Anjou, Bosc, and more. It’s okay if you don’t have the slightest idea which one you have on hand.

Pear in hand

How Long Do Pears Last?

Ripe pears keep quality for about 2 to 4 days in a fruit bowl and 5 to 10 days in the fridge. Unripe pears typically need 2 days to a week to ripen on the counter. Unfortunately, you never know how long ripening will take.

The most important thing to remember is that pears are harvested mature but not yet ripe ([UP]). And they need some time at room temperature to get ready for eating.

Tip

Eating an unripe pear isn’t unsafe by any means. The only issue is that your experience may be, well, underwhelming.

Peeled pears on a plate
Peeled pears on a plate

How do you tell if a pear is ripe?

You apply gentle pressure to the neck of the pear (the stem end) with your thumb. If it gives a little, it’s ready ([UP]). If it yields a lot, it might be overripe.

This method works because pears ripen from the inside out – if the neck is ready, the rest is too.

Warning

Most pear varieties don’t change much in terms of color while ripening ([UP]), so don’t bother looking for that.

Knowing all of that, picking pears in the supermarket or grocery store should be simple.

If you’re looking for one to eat tomorrow (or right after you check out), go for a ripe one. But if you need a couple to eat throughout the next week, find ones that are firm or only give in a tiny bit.

CounterFridge
Pear (unripe)2 – 7 days
Pear (ripe)2 – 4 days5 – 10 days
Pear (cut up)3 – 4 days
Please note these periods are only estimates.
Four pears
Four pears

How To Store Pears

Leave unripe pears at room temperature to let them ripen. Once ripe, store pears in the refrigerator where they keep quality the longest. If you know you’re going to eat that ripe pear in a couple of days, leaving it on the counter is a-okay.

As I mentioned earlier, the ripening process can take anywhere between two days and a week, or even longer if it’s a super firm pear or it’s relatively cool where your store it. Fortunately, there’s a way to accelerate this process.

Pear halves in an airtight container
Pear halves in an airtight container

To ripen your pears faster, you can:

  • place them in a fruit bowl next to other ripening fruit (e.g., bananas or apples)
  • put them in a brown bag that will help trap some of the ethylene gas (which is responsible for the ripening of fruits and veggies)
  • combine both
Tip

Check unripe pears every day or two, and move any ripe ones to the fridge.

When it comes to storing cut up pears (peeled or not), all you need is an airtight container or a freezer bag. Place the fruit pieces in either, seal it tightly, and chuck it into the fridge. They should stay safe there for 3 to 5 days.

Two whole pears
Two whole pears

How To Tell If a Pear Is Bad?

Discard pears that:

  • Are super soft, shriveled, or oozing water. At this point, the fruit has lost most of its water, and it’s no good. You can cut away any small soft areas, though.
  • Have large brown, rotten, or moldy spots. Feel free to cut off any small ones, though.
  • Are cut up and refrigerated for more than 5 days. Sure, these can still be okay to eat, but doing so is quite risky. Better safe than sorry.
Pear shriveling near the stem
Pear shriveling near the stem, that means it’s most likely soft and you should eat or use it as soon as possible

As usual, going with your gut is the best solution here.

If that pear is on the older side but still looks delicious, go for it. But if you’re not entirely certain the fruit is any good, get rid of it.

Pear bruised spot
Pear bruised spot, cut those out

Sources