Pears are a versatile fruit. You can poach them in red wine for a delicious dessert. You can pair them with blue cheese in a salad. You can even just eat them as they come.
However, is it possible to freeze pears? Maybe you think that all you have to do is slice a pear and then freeze it and then you’ll be able to make a delicious pear tatin. However, it isn’t so simple. If you don’t freeze them properly, you could easily end up with a mushy mess.
If you just want to use your pears for smoothies or sauces, then, yes, you can just cut them up and freeze them. They will be perfectly usable when defrosted. However, if you are going to use them in a dish, be it savory or sweet, you will have to follow certain instructions so that they don’t soften when defrosted.
What Types of Pears are Best for Freezing?
You can freeze any type of pear, but ensure that they are ripe. If you put them in the freezer while they are still hard, they will come out hard and you won’t be able to use them. You can tell if a pear is ripe if you press gently at the top of the pear. You can freeze it if it gives.
Do You Peel Pears Before You Freeze Them?
This is a good question. In fact, it is your choice. Also, what you are going to do with the pears can have an influence on this. If you are using them in a smoothie, then, yes, keep the skins on. The same goes if you are using them in a salad. However, if you are using them in baking, you will probably want to peel them. On the other hand, if you can get away with keeping the peel on when using the pears in a sweet tart, then do it. Most of the nutrition and fiber is in the skin so it is beneficial to keep it on.
Should You Slice or Chop Pears Before Freezing?
How you prepare your pears for freezing depends on what you intend to do with them. If you want to use them in cakes and muffins, you are best off chopping them. However, if you are going to use them in a tart or in a salad, slicing is the way to go. In this way, you can use them as they are when they are defrosted. However, if you want to poach pears, then freeze them in halves. There is never any need to freeze whole pears. They would take up a lot of room in the freezer so it isn’t a good idea. Slicing pears is probably the best method to use if space in your freezer is short. They can be put flat into freezer bags and stored one on top of the other.
How to Freeze Pears
There are two different ways that you can freeze pears.
- Salt-Water Method. To do this you put the pears in a bowl of saltwater. This stops them from discoloring and so you don’t have to use a discoloration agent like lemon juice which will affect the flavor of the pears. The saltwater also helps to keep the pears firm when they are both frozen and defrosted.
To follow this method, get a large bowl and fill it with ice-cold water. Pour in enough salt to fill the bottom of the bowl. Prepare the pears and peel if necessary. Put them into the saltwater and leave for a few minutes. Then drain and rinse the pears under cold water. Pat them dry as you don’t want to put the pears in the freezer with extra moisture. This can cause freezer burn which can make your food tough and discolored.
Put the pears on a baking sheet with enough room between each piece so that they won’t stick together. Put the tray into the freezer and freeze them until they are firm. Then transfer them into freezer bags.
- Syrup-Packed Method. While the saltwater method is best used for baking, the syrup-packed method is best used for dishes that are not cooked, such as salads. They can also be used in a cold dessert.
The first step is to prepare a syrup. Use two to four cups of sugar to four cups of water. It all depends on how sweet you want the pears to be. Put them in a saucepan and heat until the sugar dissolves. Then bring the heat down to a simmer and add the pears. Heat for two minutes and then allow the pears to cool down. You don’t want to put warm pears in the freezer as this could make other foodstuffs start to defrost. If they refreeze, this could lead to bacteria forming and this can cause food poisoning.
Put the fruit in freezer bags. You will need half a cup of syrup for each pint of fruit. You can also put the fruit in airtight containers, but leave enough headspace for the fruit to expand.