Here’s everything you need to know about storing pears. Learn if and when to refrigerate, how to ripen faster, and how to store cut pears.
Bought a bunch of pears and don’t know what to do with them? How to store pears?
Leave green pears on the counter at room temperature until ripe. Once ripe, they keep for 2-4 days on the counter or 7-10 days in the refrigerator. Refrigerate your pears if you need them to last as long as possible, or leave them out at room temperature if you don’t.
That is what you need to remember from this article.
Now, obviously there’s a little more. This is what you can find in the rest of this article:
- how to tell if a pear is ripe (must know before proceeding)
- tips for storing whole pears and speeding up ripening
- store cut pears
Interested? Let’s jump right into that.
How do you know if a pear is ripe?
You know 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 does not give way, it is still ripening. If it gives in a bit, it’s ready to eat. Finally, if it gives a lot, it is too ripe, and you should use it as soon as possible or throw it away.
Pears ripen from the inside out, so the fruit is ripe if the area furthest away (the neck) has some elasticity.
Knowing that, let’s move on to storage practices.
How to Store Whole Pears
You should store green pears at room temperature anywhere you store other ripe fruits. Once they mature, you can leave them out on the counter for 2-4 days or refrigerate for 7-10 days. It’s okay to leave ripe pears out on the counter as long as you plan to use them soon.
The ripening process lasts between a day and a week, depending on how advanced the fruit is. So check your green pears every day to see when each one ripens and decide whether or not you need to transfer them to the fridge.
(You can speed up the ripening process if you need to. More on that in a bit.)
When you transfer your pear to the refrigerator, you don’t need any special wrapping, bags, etc. Just take it as it is and place it where you can find some space.
Speaking of space, putting yours in the crisper might help a bit, but it probably won’t make a huge difference.
With that in mind, let’s talk about refrigeration one last time.
Should pears be refrigerated?
Green pears should not be refrigerated. You can refrigerate ripe pears if you want them to last longer than a week, but that’s not required. If you’re okay with a ripe pear lasting only 2-4 days, you can leave it out 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 vegetables, pears are sensitive to ethylene gas. Therefore, if you want to speed up the ripening process, you should treat your pears with more.
For starters, you can trap existing ethylene. Place the pear (or pears) in a sealed brown bag. That bag will help trap the gas and consequently speed up ripening.
To speed things up even more, add another source of ethylene. Take that same bag and put another ripe ethylene-producing fruit in there. Common examples include apples, bananas (a banana peel should be good enough), tomatoes, etc.
Doing both should speed up the process significantly, but even then it’s impossible to know how long it will be until the ripening pear is ready.
(You wonder why that is? For one thing, you don’t know how much ethylene all the fruits in the bag are producing, and whether that extra apple or banana peel really makes a difference.)
How to Store Cut Pears
Cut pears last 3-4 days in the fridge. You should refrigerate them in an airtight container or 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 option.
Whichever option you choose, make sure the fruit pieces are sealed tight so they don’t dry out or absorb any odors from the fridge.
Now, you may have read that cut or peeled pears will eventually brown. The thing is, it’s not always like that. I will give you an example.
I stored a sliced conference pear for four days and there was no sign of browning at all. But that same pear turned brown right after I froze and thawed it.
I suspect the browning might depend on the variety of the fruit, but that’s just a wild guess.
That said, if you’re worried about your cut pears browning (or if you already know yours are turning really 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 (which are otherwise perfectly fine) don’t scare you, skip the acid solution treatment.