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Yes, You Can Freeze Pears For Later. Here's How To Do It Properly

slicing fresh pears
slicing fresh pears - Professor25/Getty Images

With their tender-crisp texture and sweet flavor, pears are a perfect choice for fruit pies, tarts, puddings, cobblers, and other homemade desserts. The only downside is that these fruits only last five to 12 days in the fridge, and just 3 or 4 days out on the counter. These timeframes can vary, depending on the pears' ripeness when you bought them, but if they reach their peak and you can't use them up, freezing them is the solution.

That's right — despite their reputation as a delicate fruit, you can freeze pears. First, make sure the fruits are fully ripe. Wash them, wipe off excess moisture with a kitchen towel, and peel them, then cut them into pieces and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Freeze the pear pieces for about two hours, then transfer them to a plastic bag and store in the freezer for three months. They can remain safe to eat for longer, but will lose their flavor over time.

Pears and other fruits have a high water content, with pears containing at least 80%. Freezing causes the water in their cells to expand and form ice crystals, so your pears will be quite soft after thawing. You can still use them in pies and other baked goods, where their texture is less important, but perhaps not for fruit salads or eating alone. If you want to preserve some of their firm texture, you'll have to get syrup involved.

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Freeze Pears In Syrup To Preserve Their Color And Texture

jarred pears in syrup
jarred pears in syrup - Zeleno/Getty Images

Sugar is a natural preservative that helps to maintain a fruit's quality for longer. That's why it's commonly used for canning fruits, or as an ingredient in jams and jellies. Freezing pears in sugar syrup can help preserve their color and texture better than freezing them alone, allowing for a wider range of uses. For best results, use a thick syrup that is 30% to 40% sugar, which keeps the fruits firm. You'll prepare it the same way you'd make simple syrup -- just boil sugar and water together until thick.

To try this out, start by washing and peeling the fruits. Remove the core of each pear, and then slice or chop the flesh. Heat in a pot of boiling sugar syrup for one to two minutes, then let cool before transferring both the fruit to a freezer-safe jar or container. Next, cover them with a mixture of cold sugar syrup and powdered vitamin C, or ascorbic acid. The latter helps to prevent browning, maintaining the pears' beautiful golden color.

Leave a bit of space in the container so the syrupy liquid can expand as it freezes. Cover the pears with water-resistant paper (e.g. wax paper), tightly close the lid of your container, and keep it in the freezer for eight to 12 months. Alternatively, you can freeze the pears and syrup in plastic bags — just make sure you squeeze out the excess air before storing them.

Use Fruit Juice As An Alternative To Sugar Syrup

Woman peeling a pear
Woman peeling a pear - Invizbk/Getty Images

If you want to avoid the big dose of sugar that comes with syrup, try freezing pears submerged in fruit juice. The liquid will act as a protective barrier while enhancing the fruit's flavor. However, once the pears are thawed, you may still notice changes in their texture due to cellular damage. Still, the flavor retention and room for customization can be worth it.

With this method, you'll boil the pears (after chopping or slicing them) in apple or white grape juice for up to two minutes. Once cooled, transfer them to a freezer-safe container or plastic bag and cover with the juice. Remember to leave enough extra space in the container. Place wax paper on top, seal the container, and freeze. To get more playful with the flavor, use pineapple juice; add cinnamon sticks to the juice to infuse it; or do the same with vanilla beans or other spices.

Whether you use syrup or fruit juice, the pears will taste sweeter than plain ones after thawing. This makes them suitable for jams, smoothies, and desserts. You may also try adding them to a delicious peach sangria, or blend the frozen fruits with yogurt for a refreshing summer treat. Or you can thaw and blend the pears, add prosecco to the mix, and garnish with fresh mint for a delicious cocktail.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.