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How to Store Pears for Winter

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pears.jpg

Pears

Photo © Erin Huffstetler

Have lots of pears? Store them the right way and they'll stay fresh for months and months.

Difficulty: Easy

Time Required: Minimal

Here's How:

  1. Winter pear varieties are best suited to long-term storage. If you intend to store your pears for more than a couple of weeks, choose a winter pear like Anjou, Bosch, Comice or Winter Nelis. Bartletts, while not a winter variety, can be stored for long periods, too.
  2. Pick your pears when they are mature, but not yet ripe. They'll do their ripening after they've been picked.

    Tip: If the pears are easy to remove from the tree, they're probably ready to be picked.

  3. Store your pears at 30 degrees (and at 85-90% humidity), or as close to it as you can get. Any colder than this, and the fruit will be damaged; any warmer, and it'll ripen faster than you want. If you have a spare fridge (or can spare space in your regular fridge), this is the ideal spot to stash your fruit.

    Bartletts will keep at this temperature for 2-3 months. Winter pears for 3-5 months.

  4. Pears actually need to spend time in cold storage to ripen properly, so give your Bartlett pears at least 1-2 days in the fridge and your winter pears 2-6 weeks, before you even think about pulling any out.
  5. Once the proper chill time has passed, ripen your pears by taking out as many as you need and allowing them to sit at room temperature for several days – 4-5 days for Bartletts, 5-7 for Bosch and Comice, 7-10 for Anjou.

    The longer pears have been in cold storage, the faster they'll ripen once they're taken out.

    Need to speed up the ripening process? Stick your pears in a paper bag with a ripe apple or banana.

  6. Test for ripeness by pressing at the neck of the pear with your thumb. If it gives under the pressure, the pear is ripe and ready for eating.

Tips:

  1. Not sure what kind of pear you have? Use this guide to figure it out.
  2. Prefer to freeze your pears? Here are instructions.
  3. Ready to make something with your pears? Try homemade pear butter, pear freezer jam, pear sauce or one of these other tasty pear recipes.
  4. Have ripe pears from the store or farmer's market, and not ready to use them yet? Toss them in the fridge, and they'll keep for another 3-5 days

What You Need:

  • Pears
  • A refrigerator or cold storage area
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