Here’s everything you need to know about storing pears. Learn if and when you should refrigerate them, how to ripen them faster, and how to store cut pears.
Bought a bunch of pears and not sure what to do with them? How to store pears?
Leave unripe pears on the counter at room temperature until they ripen. Once ripe, they keep for 2 to 4 days on the counter or 7 to 10 days in the fridge. Refrigerate your pears if you need them to last as long as possible, or leave them at room temperature if you don’t.
That’s what you need to remember from this article.
Now, there’s obviously a bit more to it. Here’s what you can find in the rest of this article:
- how to tell if a pear is ripe (must-know before we go any further)
- tips on storing whole pears and speeding up ripening
- storing cut pears
Interested? Let’s jump right into it.
How to Tell if a Pear Is Ripe?
You tell if a pear is ripe by applying gentle pressure to the stem end (the neck) of the pear with your thumb. If the fruit is firm and has no give, it’s still ripening. If it yields a bit, it’s ready for eating. Finally, if it gives a lot, it’s overripe, and you should either use it as soon as possible or discard it.
Pears ripen from the inside out, so the fruit is ripe if the furthest area (the neck) has some give.
Knowing that, let’s move on to storage practices.
How to Store Whole Pears
You should store unripe pears at room temperature wherever you store other ripening fruits. Once they ripen, you can leave them on the counter for 2 to 4 days or refrigerate for 7 to 10 days. It’s okay to leave ripe pears on the counter as long as you’re going to use them soon.
The ripening process takes between a day and a week, depending on how far down the line the fruit is. Because of that, check your unripe pears every day to catch the moment each one ripens and decide if you need to transfer it to the fridge or not.
(You can speed up the ripening process if need be. More on that in a moment.)
When you transfer your pear to the fridge, you don’t need any special wrapping, bags, etc. You just grab it as-is and place it wherever you can find some space.
Speaking of space, putting yours in the crisper drawer might help a bit, but it probably won’t make that big of a difference.
With that in mind, let’s talk about refrigeration one last time.
Should Pears Be Refrigerated?
Unripe pears shouldn’t be refrigerated. You can refrigerate ripe pears if you’d like them to last for more than a week, but that’s not a must. If you’re okay with a ripe pear lasting only 2 to 4 days, you can leave it on the counter.
Cut pears have to be refrigerated.
Related: How long do pears last?
How to Ripen Pears Faster?
Like many other fruits and veggies, pears are sensitive to ethylene gas. Therefore, if you want to speed up the ripening process, you need to treat your pears with more of it.
For starters, you can trap the existing ethylene. Place the pear (or pears) in a sealed brown bag. That bag will help trap the gas and therefore speed up ripening.
To speed things up even further, add another source of ethylene. Grab that same bag and put there another ripening fruit that produces ethylene. Common examples include apples, bananas (a banana peel should be good enough), tomatoes, etc.
Doing both should significantly speed up the process, but it’s still impossible to tell how long it’ll take until the pear that you’re ripening is ready.
(Wondering why is that so? For one, you don’t know how much ethylene is produced by all the fruits in the bag and if that extra apple or banana peel really makes a difference.)
How to Store Cut Pears
Cut pears last 3 to 4 days in the fridge. You should refrigerate them either in an airtight container or a freezer bag.
I suggest going with a bag for halves, quarters, and large slices. For small pieces and diced pears, a resealable container is a better choice.
No matter which option you go with, make sure the fruit pieces are sealed tight so that they don’t dry out or pick up any smells from the fridge.
Now, you might have read that cut or peeled pears will eventually brown. The thing is, that’s not always the case. I’ll give you an example.
I stored a conference pear cut into slices for four days, and there was no sign of browning whatsoever. But that same pear browned right after I froze and thawed it.
Related: Can you freeze pears?
I suspect that browning might depend on the variety of the fruit, but that’s just a wild guess.
That said, if you’re concerned that your cut-up pears will brown (or you already know that yours indeed turn brown), you can prevent browning by dipping or spraying the fruit with an acidic liquid. A solution of equal parts water and lemon juice should do the trick.
But if slightly browned pears (that are otherwise perfectly fine) don’t scare you, skip the acidic solution treatment.