Pears are much loved all over the world and can be consumed as is, or used in cooked recipes. These fruits are known to ripen quickly, and hence, if you want to enjoy them for longer periods, simply freeze them. How? Tastessence will tell you how to freeze pears.
Test to Check Ripeness
To get a fair idea of how ripe the pear is, gently press the neck of the pear where the stem ends. If the skin gives in, it indicates ripeness. This method is used because pears normally ripen inside out.
Juicy, crispy, tangy, and sweet, a pear is all this and some more, no wonder it is a very popular fruit. Pears not only taste good but provide various health benefits too. They are known to be a good source of fiber and vitamin C. There are about 3000 known varieties of pears that are, barring a few months (May to July), generally available throughout the year. The only drawback, if that can be called so, about pears is the fact that they perish fairly quickly once ripe. Naturally, this demands that we find out ways to preserve them so that they can be enjoyed all through the year. You can make jams, or just freeze them to retain their taste for a longer period.
If you’re planning on freezing them, remember to choose ripe but not overripe pears. As mentioned earlier, these fruits can perish quickly once ripe, so be careful while choosing because you don’t want them to be squishy. Freezing pears can be slightly tricky because of their tendency to turn brown. To prevent that, certain acids come to the rescue. Which are those acids and how do they help in freezing pears, let’s find out.
Note: Just remember to wash the pears properly and check for any molds.
Ways to Freeze Pears
#1 In a Syrup
▶ Wash the pears. You can freeze them with or without the skin. If you want to remove the skin, do so before you begin the rest of the procedure.
▶ Cut the pear into slices and remove the core, seeds, stem, or any brown part.
▶ Take a pan and add sugar to water in a 3:1 ratio (3 cups of sugar for 1 cup water). Stir and bring the syrup to a boil.
▶ Add the sliced pears in it, and let it boil for 2 – 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, and let the mixture cool down.
▶ Add ½ tsp. of lemon juice or Fresh-Fruit for every quart of syrup.
▶ Pour the mixture in freezer bags or containers. Ensure that you leave about an inch of space at the top to allowing the mixture to expand.
▶ Fill the head space with a crumbled parchment or wax paper over the slices so that the pears remain submerged in the syrup.
▶ Seal the bags or containers with minimal of air inside, write the date on it, and store in the freezer.
Tip: Use this method if you wish to use the pears in uncooked or fresh dishes like a fruit dish. Also, this method works best with pears that are very firm.
#2 Go Dry!
▶ This method is fairly easy and not time-consuming at all. All you need is pears, sugar, freezer bag/container, and a cookie sheet/plate.
▶ Wash the pear, peel it, and cut it into slices of desired thickness.
▶ Place the slices on a cookie sheet or plate.
▶ Evenly sprinkle some white sugar on them. Keep them aside for 10 – 15 minutes to let the sugar seep in.
▶ Place the plate or cookie sheet in the freezer for 3 hours. See to it that none of the slices are sticking to one another.
▶ After they freeze, remove the sheet and put all the slices in a freezer bag.
▶ While sealing the bag or container, take as much as air out and then seal it.
Tip: This method works best for pears that would be required in cooked dishes like smoothies or pies.
✱ If you want to freeze the pears without sugar, follow the method mentioned above until the addition sugar. Add ½ tsp. of ascorbic acid to 3 tbsp. of cold water. Add this mixture to the pear slices and then freeze on the cookie sheet.
♦ Pears can also be preserved with natural fruit juices like that of apple or white grapes.
♦ Keep an eye on any sign of mold. If you see any, cut the infected portion or discard the pear completely.
♦ If you pick not-so-sweet pears, use the syrup method or add some juice.
♦ Pears that have been frozen by the dry method take more time to thaw than those that have been frozen in the syrup. Also, the syrup pears will be softer.
♦ It is not necessary to add ascorbic acid every time you use the dry method. Addition of ascorbic acid does not alter the taste, but only the color of the pear turns brown. If you don’t mind your pears turning brown, you can freeze them without the acid.
♦ Freezing pears in a solution will prevent the slices from “freezer burn.”