Can pears go in the fridge?
In this brief article, we are going to answer the question “Can pears go in the fridge?”. We will also discuss what is the shelf life of pears and what is the optimum temperature to store pears as well as how to tell if they have gone bad and what happens if you consume bad pears.
Can pears go in the fridge?
Yes, pears can go in the fridge. In fact, refrigerating pears can help extend their shelf life and keep them fresh and preserved for a longer period.
Pears that are fully ripe can keep fresh in the refrigerator for three to five days if stored properly.
Pears retain their freshness for about two to four days in a fruit bowl and five to ten days in the refrigerator.
Unripe pears normally need two to seven days on the counter to ripen. Regrettably, there is no way to predict when ripening will take place.
The critical factor to note is that pears are picked when they are mature but not fully ripe. Additionally, they need some time at ambient temperature to acclimate to feeding. Allow immature pears to ripen at room temperature (1,2).
Remove the pears from the refrigerator and let them ripen on the counter at room temperature. They’ll be ready to eat in three to ten days at the latest.
By gently pressing on the pear’s neck with your thumb, you can tell whether it’s ripe. When the fruit’s stem end begins to yield slightly, the pear is ripe and ready to eat.
Once the pears are ripe, store them in the refrigerator. This is where they keep their quality the best. If you’re certain you’ll consume the ripe pear within a couple of days, leaving it on the counter is OK (2,3).
What is the shelf life of pear?
Pear fruits have a very short shelf life of 7–10 days at room temperature (25–30 °C) without packaging. The shelf life of pear fruit is very short and it is susceptible to decay, mechanical damage, and moisture and nutritional losses during storage (2).
However, the shelf life of pears can vary depending on several factors, including the variety of pear, its ripeness at the time of purchase, and how it is stored.
Ripe pears, which are soft to the touch and have a pleasant aroma, are best consumed within a few days. They have a shorter shelf life and should be eaten promptly to enjoy their optimal taste and texture .
Pears that are firm but yield slightly to gentle pressure can be stored for a longer period. They can usually be kept at room temperature for 2-3 days to allow them to ripen fully. After ripening, it is recommended to consume them within a few days.
Pears that are firm and unripe can be stored for a more extended period. If you prefer to prolong their shelf life, place them in a cool environment, such as the refrigerator, where they can stay fresh for up to 1-2 weeks.
Check on them periodically and remove any pears that begin to ripen to avoid over-ripening or spoilage of the others (1,2).
What affects the shelf life of pear?
Pears should be stored at a cool temperature to slow down the ripening process and extend their shelf life. Storing pears at higher temperatures, such as room temperature, will cause them to ripen faster and shorten their shelf life (1).
Pears require a moderate level of humidity to prevent excessive moisture loss and maintain their freshness. Storing pears in a humid environment or in a plastic bag with a few ventilation holes can help retain moisture and extend their shelf life (2,4).
Pears are delicate fruits that readily bruise. Rough handling or dropping can produce bruises and damage, resulting in rapid deterioration and nutritional value loss.
Furthermore, bruised fruits readily ferment, rot, or mildew, infecting other undamaged fruit during storage. To avoid bruising, store pears in a single layer or in a method that minimizes strain on individual fruits (5).
Maturity and variety
The shelf life of various pear types varies. Some pear cultivars, such as Bartlett and Anjou, have a shorter shelf life and should be used as soon as they ripen.
Other types, such as Bosc or Comice, have a longer storage life and can be kept for several weeks if stored properly. Examine the precise characteristics and recommendations for the pears you have (1,6).
Pears are sensitive to ethylene gas, a natural ripening hormone produced by many fruits, including pears themselves.
Exposure to ethylene can speed up the ripening process and shorten the shelf life of pears, so keep pears away from ethylene-producing fruits like bananas, apples, or tomatoes to prevent premature ripening (7,8).
How to refrigerate pears?
Proper pear storage is critical to increasing the shelf life of the fruit. Once collected, fresh pears should be refrigerated or stored in a cool storage place such as a basement to continue ripening (1).
Store the pears in a porous plastic or paper bag and place them in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator. Winter pears and Bartlett pears may keep for up to two months in the refrigerator, whereas unripe summer pears will keep for up to a week (2,6).
Avoid storing fruits that are mushy, bruised, or blemished in cold storage since they will rapidly spoil.
How to freeze pears?
By freezing pears at their height of maturity, you may continue to enjoy them even during the off-season. Pears may be frozen in two ways, one of which is by freezing them in sugar syrup. The syrup mildly sweetens the pears, making them an all-year pleasure (9).
Prepare the pears. Begin by washing the fresh pears under cold running water. Continue peeling, coring, halving, and slicing your pears into quarters to prepare them for freezing.
It is recommended that you soak them in a solution of 1 cup water, 1/4 teaspoon ascorbic acid, 3 tablespoons lemon juice, or 1/4 teaspoon citric acid for three minutes to avoid discoloration. Finally, drain the pear slices.
Construct the sugar syrup. You may produce a light syrup, a medium syrup, or a heavy syrup depending on the sweetness desired for your pears. To make a light syrup, combine one and two-thirds cups of sugar and four cups of water.
Combine two and two-thirds cups sugar and four cups water to make a medium syrup. Combine four cups of sugar and four cups of water to make a thick syrup. It takes a while for the sugar and water to mix together in a large saucepan. Refrigerate the syrup (10,11).
Fill freezer-safe containers halfway with pears. Every two cups of fruit should be covered with two-thirds of a cup of cooled syrup.
Allow a half-inch of headroom between pint-sized containers and one inch between quart-sized containers. Place the pears and syrup containers in the freezer and consume them within eight to ten months (11).
What is the optimum temperature to store pears?
Pears are extremely temperature sensitive and the optimum temperature to store them has been observed at -1 °C (30 °F) where they last 35 to 40% longer than at 0 °C (32 °F) with Relative Humidity (RH) of 90 to 94%.
When pears are stored at extremely low temperatures, precise temperature control is required to prevent freezing. Pears lose moisture quickly, so it is best to keep RH above 90% (1,6).
Keep in mind that storing pears at low temperatures can cause freezing injury. which may only cause a slight change on the surface but severely damage the interior which is challenging to detect (15).
How to tell if pears have gone bad?
To tell if pears have gone bad you should be able to identify the signs of spoilage.
Check the appearance of the pear. If you notice significant discoloration, such as browning, blackening on the skin, it is a clear indication that the pear has spoiled. Discard any pears with visible signs of decay, especially if you spot mold growth on the fruit.
At least 13 fungal diseases have been reported for pears of different cultivars worldwide caused by molds of different species such as Penicillium spp. (blue mold), Botrytis cinerea Pers. (grey mold) and Colletotrichum gloesporioides (bitter rot) (5,12).
Feel the texture of the pear. If the pear feels excessively soft, mushy, or has a mealy or grainy texture, it is a sign of over-ripeness and spoilage. Fresh pears should have a firm yet slightly yielding texture when gently pressed (5,13).
Smell the pear for any off-putting or foul odors. If the pear emits an unusual or unpleasant smell, it is an indication of spoilage. Fresh pears generally have a mild, sweet aroma (14).
If you have already cut into the pear, taste a small piece. Spoiled pears often have an off-flavor that may be sour, bitter, or fermented. The appearance and sensation of off-flavors are highly associated with the accumulation of the ethanol fermentation products acetaldehyde and ethanol.
If the taste is unpleasant or noticeably different from the expected flavor of a fresh pear, it is a clear sign of spoilage (14).
What happens if you consume bad pears?
Consuming bad pears can lead to food poisoning, mold toxicity, and stomach upset. Symptoms may include (16):
- abdominal pain
- allergic reactions
These symptoms can vary depending on the specific type of bacteria or pathogen present and the individual’s susceptibility.
It’s important to note that moldy pears should never be consumed. Different species of molds have already been found causing pears spoilage and they can produce mycotoxins that are toxic to humans.
Penicillium, Fusarium and Alternaria species can produce a variety of toxic secondary metabolites. Even a small amount of mold ingestion can be harmful (12,17).
So, if you eat spoiled pears and have one of the symptoms above, seek medical attention.
In this brief article, we answered the question “Can pears go in the fridge?”. We also discussed what is the shelf life of pears and what is the optimum temperature to store pears as well as how to tell if they have gone bad and what happens if you consume bad pears.
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