Here is everything you need to know about freezing pears. Learn how well they freeze, how to process, and the best ways to use frozen pears.
Do you have too many pears on hand and wonder how to preserve the fruit? Can you freeze pears?
Pears freeze well. Pears brown and soften after thawing, so they work best in cooked and baked dishes. To freeze pears, quarter them, pre-freeze on a cookie sheet, and transfer to a freezer bag for long-term freezing.
That is the gist of it.
Now, there’s so much more, including:
- how freezing affects pears
- how exactly should you freeze pears
- defrost methods
- ways to use frozen pears
If you want to learn more about any of these topics, keep reading.
Do pears freeze well?
Pears soften and turn golden after freezing and thawing. That means they work well in almost any cooked or baked dish, but they’re not good enough to put on a salad, eat as a snack, or add to a dessert.
(Unless you don’t mind mushy 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 for using them. Especially, if you like baked goods.
When it comes to how a frozen and thawed pear tastes and feels, it’s similar to a baked pear or baked apple. Everything is smooth, a little mushy, and there is no creak. That’s why it doesn’t look good in salads or sauces.
In general, freezing is the best method for preserving non-canned pears. It limits how you can use the fruit afterwards, but it doesn’t require any special equipment or skills. All you need is some basic kitchen equipment and a few spare minutes.
Now, you may be here because you are wondering if you can freeze pears for smoothies. I have good news for you:
You can freeze pears for smoothies, and they work wonderfully in anything that requires the use of a blender. There is no special preparation involved; the standard freezing method that I describe in this article works well.
Last but not least, make sure the pears you freeze are ripe. And remember that ripe pears last more than a week in the fridge, so you may still have time to use them.
Related: How long do pears last?
Related: How to store pears?
Knowing all of the above, let’s discuss some details about freezing pears.
how to freeze pears
The method I describe below is sometimes called the “dry pack” method, since it does not involve adding anything to the fruit before freezing.
There are other methods, for example, the sugar packet or the syrup packet, but both require using a lot of sugar and need a little more hands-on time. I don’t like either of those qualities, so I recommend the dry pack method.
This is how pears are frozen:
- Homework. Wash, peel and core the pears. Then, cut them in a way that makes sense for how you’re going to use them. If you don’t have a plan yet, quarters are a good option, but you can also dice them. However, it is easier to pre-freeze larger slices.
- Pre-freeze. To start, line a baking sheet with a silicone baking paper mat. You can still pre-freeze the fruit pieces if you skip the coating, but they will freeze to the sheet and be difficult to remove. Next, transfer the slices to the tray and arrange them in a single layer so they are not touching too much (ie no lumps). Place that sheet in the freezer for 3 to 4 hours, or until the pears are frozen solid.
- Transfer. Take the cookie sheet out of the freezer, separate the pear slices that were frozen with a spatula, and transfer everything to a freezer bag. Label the bag with the name and date if desired, squeeze out the air, and seal it tight.
- Freeze. Throw the bag in the freezer.
This method is as simple as it gets and only takes about 5-15 minutes of active time, depending on how many pears you’re freezing. That’s why I think it’s the best method to preserve pears without using sugar.
Now, let’s cover some additional questions you may have.
How long can pears be frozen?
Try to use the pears within three months of freezing them.
As usual, the longer they stay in the freezer, the worse the quality you should expect.
That being said, it’s not like they’re going to be terrible if frozen for three and a half to four months. They will probably be fine.
But if yours are sitting in the freezer for a year, it’s probably best to use them in a dish that doesn’t rely on flavor. Smoothies work great in that scenario.
Is prior freezing necessary?
No, it’s not.
Pre-freezing allows you to store all the pieces in one bag and still be able to grab as many as you need when you need them. It gives you the option to defrost just 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 to pre-freeze them. The pears will freeze together, but you’re going to thaw them all together, so that’s not a problem.
Can you freeze pears with skin?
Sure, if that’s what your prescription calls for.
But if you’re thinking of putting off peeling the pears until they’re thawed, it’s not a good idea. As I mentioned, pears soften after freezing and thawing, and you probably know that peeling a firm fruit or vegetable is much easier than working with a soft one.
If you’re going to peel the pears anyway, you can do this before freezing them, too.
How to defrost pears
Thaw pears overnight in an airtight container or freezer bag in the refrigerator. Depending on the size, they will need anywhere from 2-8 hours to fully thaw, which is why I suggest starting the process the night before you need them.
Once thawed, there will be some water in that container or bag. This is what it looked like in my case:
Be sure to discard that water before using the fruit pieces.
If the texture of your recipe is too chunky or dry when using thawed pears, add an extra teaspoon or two of water to fix it.
Although the refrigerator is the default defrost method, sometimes you can skip defrosting.
For example, if you’re making a smoothie, you can add the frozen pears, assuming your blender can handle ice cubes.
The same is true for most dishes you cook on the stovetop: add frozen pears and cook everything for a few more minutes to allow them to thaw and warm through.
Now that we’ve gone through freezing and thawing, we can talk about recipes that make sense for both frozen and thawed pears.
How to use frozen pears
Not sure how to use your frozen pears? Here are some examples:
- shakes Smoothies are the easiest way to consume frozen fruit, and pears work great in smoothies.
- Muffin. Fruit muffins are another popular option. I used this recipe to make the muffins that I photographed for this article.
- empanadas 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 is a recipe to get you started
- Bread. Pear bread is another option if you are 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 might be too much for you, you can always freeze half. All types of bread freeze well, including zucchini bread and banana bread.
Related: Can you freeze zucchini bread?
Of course, the above list is not complete and only presents some of the most popular options. You can quickly find tons of other recipes online.
If you already have a favorite pear recipe that cooks on the stovetop or bakes in the oven, try making it using your frozen pears. Most likely it will work out.
Frequently asked questions about freezing pears
Can whole pears be frozen?
Yes, but this method has a couple of drawbacks:
- A thawed pear is soft, making it a bit difficult to peel and core. Preparing the fruit before freezing it is a better option.
- You have to thaw the whole pear, which is not good if you only need a quarter or so to add to a recipe.
- Defrosting a whole pear takes longer than defrosting a quarter.
All things considered, none of the cons I listed are much of a problem. If you don’t care for any of them, feel free to freeze the whole pear, especially if you are freezing it whole or not freezing it at all.
To freeze a whole pear, simply place it in a freezer bag, squeeze out the air, and toss it in the freezer. The same method works for freezing whole lemons.
Can you freeze canned pears?
You can freeze leftover canned pears by following the method I described in the article; just pat dry the slices before pre-freezing. But if you’re thinking of freezing an unopened can of pears, don’t.
First, canned fruits (any canned food, really) keep for months, if not years, after the printed date. So even if your can is close to its expiration date or has passed, you can still use it safely. And as you can imagine, using fresh canned pears is better than using thawed canned pears.
Second, the cans are filled with liquid, which could cause the jar to explode in the freezer if you put it there as is. You don’t want that to happen.
All things considered, if you feel you must freeze your canned pears, open them up, discard the liquid, and freeze the pears.