You had a good harvest of pears and now, after all the finger-licking desserts, you have a surplus that you see browning day by day… What a shame! What if you could store pears for a long time and enjoy them as they should be? Good news, it’s entirely possible! It doesn’t matter if you can store them, freeze them, make them last by drying or turn them into a compote – their high sugar content and unique aroma make them a naturally irresistible treat!
6 ways to store pears for the long term
Honestly, consuming these fresh fruits or preparing a pear tarte tatin are the best options to enjoy them. But when you want to enjoy it over months, or even the whole year, the right strategies are different. So in this article we share with you the options for storing pears in the short and long term, without chemical additives, as well as tips to prevent them from turning brown.
Above all, when choosing your pear tree, prefer late varieties whose fruits usually last better. Beurrés, Doyenné d’Hiver, Grand Soleil, Passe-Colmar and Saint-Mathieu are just a few of the good cultivars. As a general rule, the firmer the bulb, the better it will last, even without treatment or special conditions (cellar, cold room, etc.).
Very important, pick the pears when they are ripe, but before they are fully ripe. You can then let them ripen in the fridge. If you let them ripen on the tree, they tend to spoil from the inside. The outside will look good, but when you cut them, the inside will be mushy and brown.
Optimal cooling conditions
If you put the fruits in the fridge at 0 to 4°C, they will keep for around 4 to 6 weeks. For longer storage, unripe pears should be stored at -1°C and 85-90% humidity. Fresh, unripe pears will keep under these conditions for 2-5 months, depending on the variety. The high sugar content in pears acts as a natural antifreeze.
Temperatures below -1°C will damage the bulbs, while higher temperatures will speed up their ripening. Therefore, it would be useful to have a small refrigerator that is only used to store bulbs. Even if you don’t plan to store them for a very long time, a short-term cooling will improve their flavor.
It is best to arrange your fruit in shallow containers or containers that you can inspect regularly. By opening the refrigerator from time to time, you will also let the destructive ethylene gas escape. Remove any fruit that shows signs of spoilage. Once the pears are ripe, they should be eaten within a few days.
There are several ways to postpone the ugly browning of already cut pears. Yes, whatever treatment is used, be aware that it will only slow down tanning, not completely prevent it. Dip cut and peeled fruit (if desired) in one of the following solutions:
30-40 ml cup of lemon juice per 1 liter of water
pineapple juice, orange juice or other acidic juices – undiluted or half diluted with water
1 tablespoon of salt per 2 liters of water
1/2 tablespoon of citric acid per 2 liters of water
Preservation of pears by dehydrating them
If you don’t have a basement or a spare refrigerator, dehydrating is probably the best way to store pears. Due to their high water content, pears require a longer time to dry, between 10 and 24 hours. But the dried fruit obtained is very sweet, like a pear candy with a touch of caramel!
The pears are dehydrated at 57ºC overnight or until the fruit is dry and hard. Pretreatment to prevent pears from browning is recommended but not required. Store dehydrated pears in an airtight glass jar.
Can you freeze pears?
Freezing is a super easy way to store pears and works great long term. Ideally, peel, dice or dice and treat against browning before freezing the fruit. Freeze them on baking sheets and transfer them to cooler bags or boxes for ease of use.
Make pear jam or jelly
Preserving pears by turning them in jam or vanilla jelly are two other good options. For every 2 kg of pears, you need 1 kg of powdered sugar and the juice of one lemon. A few cinnamon sticks to add flavor to the marmalade are also recommended.
Sprinkle the diced pears with lemon juice and put them in a large pot. Then add the sugar, cinnamon sticks and 200 ml water and cook for approx. 50 minutes on medium heat, stirring occasionally. Pour the still warm jam into glass jars, close them, turn them to cool and voila!
Canned pears in syrup
Finally, preserving pears in sweet syrup is an easy, tasty and versatile method. Prepare the syrup by boiling 1 liter of water and 400 g of sugar (plus anise, cinnamon, saffron or vanilla, among others according to personal preference). Then treat the whole peeled pears with lemon juice to prevent them from browning. Store them in glasses and pour the syrup into them, leaving 2 cm of space. Close the jars and sterilize them for half an hour at very low heat. Your canned pears in syrup are ready!