How to Store Pears

By Erin Otto
September 6th, 2013

Next week, when the truck load of peaches, pears, and plums comes in, our family will be getting a few boxes of pears just to store for fall. Sure, we’ll eat many of them within the first week, but since we’ll only be bringing in pears once this season, I want to make ours last as long as I can.

Fresh Bartlett Pears | Bulk Natural Foods

Pears are okay frozen. We tried that one year and added them to smoothies.

They’re awesome dehydrated.

But my favorite way to eat a pear is fresh. Fresh and sweet with juice dribbling down my hand and wrist. So fresh is how I store them when I have the fridge space.

Pears can be stored fresh for several weeks or even months if you keep them cold and humid enough. There’s not much to it, but the closer you are able to replicate these “ideal” pear storage conditions, the longer your pears will last.

1. The type of pear you choose makes a difference in how long they’ll keep. Anjou, Bosc, and Comice pears are winter varieties that will keep for as long as 4 months under ideal conditions. Bartlett pears will last for only a month or two – just long enough that we can look forward to a few pear crisps when the weather gets chilly.

2. It’s important to get your storage pears into the fridge when they are mature, but not ripe; green and solid, not ready to eat yet, but perfect for tucking away in the fridge for later. If you wait until they are ripe before you pack them away, they will not keep long at all and they will bruise much more easily in the fridge.

Note – Pears actually don’t ripen well on the trees. They need to be picked when they’re mature, but not ripe and soft or they will become mealy or woody. So please don’t be disappointed when your pears aren’t ready to eat right away when you pick them up. 

3. Store your pears at 30 degrees, or as close to that temperature as you can get. Any colder than this, and the pears will freeze. Warmer, and they will ripen faster than you want them to. If you have a spare fridge or can spare some space in your regular fridge, this is the best place to stash your pears.

4. The best way we’ve found to refrigerate any tree fruit is layered with paper towels inside of plastic grocery bags. The bags keep humidity inside and keep the fruit from shriveling, while the paper towels absorb excess moisture.

5. To ripen pears, just set them out at room temperature for a few days. The longer pears have been in the refrigerator, the quicker they’ll ripen when you take them out. For Bartlett pears, plan about 4-5 days to ripen. Anjou and Bosc pears take longer – about 5 – 7 days.

When they’re ripe, Bartlett pears turn golden yellow and become fragrant, so it’s easy to tell when they’re ready to eat.

Need some suggestions for using pears? Take a look at our article, What To Do With Your Pears to spark some ideas.