Skip to content

How to Ripen Pears

If you’ve got a bounty of pears on hand there’s a good chance that at least some of them are less than ideally soft and ripe. Why? Because pears are one of the rare fruits that actually taste better when ripened off the tree. Tree-ripened pears are often mealy and mushy, so they are usually picked unripe and shipped cold to prevent bruising and spoilage.

This means that most of the pears we buy are still not in “eat today” condition. That’s usually fine for pears we cook with; having that bit of firmness and the balancing residual acidity make these pears perfect for use in cakes, pies, tarts, and preserves or butter. But if you want pears for eating out of hand or using raw in salads and the like, you want a soft, nicely ripened pear.

Get the Recipe: Fresh Pear Pie

So what do you do when you have a bowlful of pear rocks? Time to help them ripen!

How to Ripen Pears

The good news is that pears ripen very effectively at room temperature over the course of 4 to 7 days. If you don’t have a pear emergency, just leaving them out in a bowl or on a plate will do the trick eventually.

If you want them to ripen faster, add some ripe apples or bananas to the mix. These fruits will increase the natural amount of ethylene, the gas that helps with ripening, and speed the process.

For more speed — to ripen pears in 2 to 4 days — place the pears in a paper bag and close the top tightly to trap the ethylene. The paper will breathe enough to prevent mold or rot but will still capture the ethylene gas to create a little ripening chamber. Add an apple or banana to the bag to speed things up even more.

If you have a lot of pears and don’t need all of them ripe at once, don’t worry: Pears ripen when kept at 65 to 75 degrees F, so any pears you aren’t ready for can be stored in the fridge until you want to move them to room temperature to start them ripening. If you like eating a pear a day, for example, keep three or four out ripening, and the rest in the fridge: After eating one, replace it with a cold fruit to keep the ripening cycle going.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *