Can you freeze Asian pears?
In this brief guide, we will answer the question “can you freeze Asian pears”. We will also discuss what is the shelf life of Asian pears, how you can freeze it, how to tell if Asian pears have spoiled and finally what happens if you eat spoiled Asian pears.
Can you freeze Asian pears?
Yes, Asian pears can be frozen to preserve them for a later date, future cooking, and to temper seasonal fluctuations in availability (1).
It’s a handy storage alternative for users who come upon a sizable cache by either shopping in bulk or harvesting them from a tree.
Freezing Asian pears adequately can help users economize space in their fridge or pantry, and reduce their waste.
Additionally, Asian pears can be processed, prior to being frozen. This includes making them into jam, paste, chutney, or storing them in syrup (2).
Below, we’ll describe a few outlines users can follow to freeze Asian pears.
What is the shelf life of Asian pears?
On average, Asian pears can typically be stored for about 6 months (3).
When buying Asian pears, it’s best to look for ones that are firm and unblemished by bumps or blemishes.
Ripe pears have a shorter shelf life and should be consumed within a few days. These pears are usually soft to the touch and have a fragrant aroma. If you buy ripe Asian pears, it’s best to plan to consume them relatively soon.
On the other hand, slightly under ripe Asian pears can be stored for a longer period. These pears are firm to the touch and have a crisp texture. If you prefer to extend their shelf life, it’s advisable to choose pears that are slightly under ripe when purchasing them. They can last for several weeks to a few months when stored properly (4).
What affects the shelf life of Asian pears?
The stage of ripeness at the time of purchase can impact how long Asian pears will last. If you buy ripe pears they will have a shorter shelf life and you will have to consume them within a few days, while slightly underripe pears can be stored for a longer period (4).
Handling and Bruising
Asian pears are delicate and sometimes bruise easily. Fruit with bruises or other imperfections have a shorter shelf life and might degrade more quickly. So, to prevent damage, it’s critical to handle them gently, avoiding dropping or roughly handling the pears and handling with care and avoiding unnecessary impact or pressure (5).
The shelf life of Asian pears must be extended through proper storage practices. For instance, warm exposure has the potential to hasten ripening and deterioration. Furthermore, excessive moisture can lead to mold growth or too soft pears. Asian pear stored at 22°C underwent rapid fruit softening and skin color change (6,7).
Ethylene Gas exposure
Asian pears are susceptible to ethylene gas, a natural ripening agent generated by some fruits and vegetables. Storing Asian pears near ethylene-producing goods such as bananas, apples, or tomatoes will hasten ripening and cause them skin browning shorting their shelf life. To avoid that, store Asian pears individually or in a controlled atmosphere (8,9).
What is the optimum temperature to store Asian pears?
Asian pears should be stored at 0 °C (32 °F). Because Asian pear is prone to water loss, the freezing point is -1.5 °C (29 °F) and the Relative Humidity in the storage atmosphere must be kept at 90%. Fruit becomes dry and wrinkled when it loses more than 5 to 7% of its water content (8).
Remember that storing pears at low temperatures can result in freezing injury and water-soaked symptoms. It may just make a minor change on the surface but significantly harm the inner and is difficult to identify (6).
How can I freeze Asian pears?
Readers can freeze Asian pears in various ways, depending on how they intend to use them afterward.
For example, Asian pears can be frozen whole, once they’ve been rinsed and had any debris washed off. Once dried, they can be covered in at least two layers of plastic cling wrap and then stored in a freeze-resistant container (10,11).
To be clear, their consistency will have changed once they’ve been thawed, as freezing turns the water content present in Asian pears to ice, and ruptures the strands and fibers in the pear’s flesh (6).
Alternatively, Asian pears can be stored once they’ve had their cores removed, in slices, and peeled (1).
Asian pears that are sliced or otherwise cut open, should first be flash-frozen. Flash freezing alludes to storing the freshly cut slices at subzero temperatures for the water on their surface to freeze (11).
Once hardened, and with an icy texture, Asian pear slices (or chunks) can then be scooped into a quality freezer bag and have all the air drawn out.
This will prevent the chunks from suffering freezer burns and being prematurely desiccated, and freezing them beforehand makes it far less likely for them to clump together when stored in the freezer (10).
Alternatively, sliced Asian pears that have been flash-frozen, can be stored inside an appropriately sized freeze-resistant container that leaves as few airspaces as possible inside when tightly sealed (10,11).
Frozen, Asian pears can be preserved for up to six months, though their consistency will be altered once they’ve been defrosted (3).
To defrost Asian pears, users can leave them to thaw out in the fridge, or in the case of sliced pears, they can be taken out of the bag or container, and be thawed out on the countertop, at room temperature (11).
Asian pear preserves can be stored in mason jars, though users should be aware that they’ll need to leave airspace underneath the lid for the fluid to expand once it’s been frozen. This applies to jams, pastes, and pear chunks in syrup (1,12).
Defrosting pear preserves should be done by leaving them to thaw out in the fridge overnight, and preserves can be kept frozen for up to six months (13).
How to tell if Asian pears have spoiled?
To determine if Asian pears have gone bad, it’s important to be able to identify signs of spoilage. Here are the indicators to look out for:
Inspect the appearance of the pear. Significant discoloration, such as browning or blackening of the skin, is a clear indication of spoilage. If you observe visible signs of decay, particularly mold growth on the fruit, it is advisable to discard the pear.
Asian pear fruit are susceptible to many pathogens, such as Botrytis, Alternaria, and Phomopsis species. Venturia pirina can cause fungal diseases in Asian pears. The disease appears as olive green to dark brown to black, velvety circular spots (lesions) that consist of sporulating mycelia growing under the epidermis (8,14).
Gently feel the texture of the pear. If it feels excessively soft, mushy, or has a mealy or grainy consistency, it signifies over-ripeness and spoilage. Fresh pears should have a firm yet slightly yielding texture when gently pressed (15).
Take a sniff of the pear for any unusual or foul odors. If you detect an off-putting smell, it indicates spoilage. Fresh pears generally have a mild, sweet aroma (16).
If you have already cut into the pear, taste a small piece. Spoiled pears often have an off-flavor that can be sour, bitter, or fermented. The presence of acetaldehyde and ethanol, byproducts of ethanol fermentation, can contribute to the appearance and sensation of off-flavors (16).
If the taste is unpleasant or significantly different from the expected flavor of a fresh pear, it is a clear sign of spoilage.
What happens if you eat spoiled Asian pears?
Consuming spoiled pears can cause food poisoning, mold toxicity, and upset stomach. Some symptoms that you might feel are:
- abdominal pain
- allergic reactions
Depending on the particular bacteria or infection present and the person’s sensitivity, these symptoms might change.
It’s crucial to remember that spoiled food should never be eaten. Numerous mold species have previously been identified as the cause for pear spoiling, and they are capable of producing hazardous mycotoxins for people (14,17).
If you consume spoiled pears and subsequently experience any of the symptoms mentioned earlier, it is crucial to seek medical attention. These symptoms can be indicative of foodborne illnesses or mold toxicity, and it is important to have a healthcare professional evaluate your condition.
In this brief guide, we answered the question “can you freeze Asian pears”. We also discussed what is the shelf life of Asian pears, how you can freeze it, how to tell if Asian pears have spoiled and finally what happens if you eat spoiled Asian pears.
Was this helpful?
Silva, C.L.M. Home Freezing of Fruits and Vegetables. In book: Frozen food science and technology, 2008.
Ahmad, J. et al. Review Article on; Traditional and Modern Techniques For Food Preservation. International Journal of Modern Agriculture, 2021, 10, 2021
Dilmaçünal, T.,et al. Determination of cold storage quality and shelf life of a new Asian pear cultivar ‘Chojuro Nashi’. Acta Hortic., 2020, 1275,105-112
Kaur K, Dhillon W.S. Influence of maturity and storage period on physical and biochemical characteristics of pear during post cold storage at ambient conditions. J Food Sci Technol. 2015, 52, 5352-6
Opara, U.L., Pathare, P.B. Bruise damage measurement and analysis of fresh horticultural produce – A review. Postharvest Biology and Technology, 2014, 91, 9-24
Lim, B.S. et al. Symptoms of freezing injury and mechanical injury-induced fruit rot in ‘Niitaka’ pear fruit (Pyrus pyrifolia Nakai) during low temperature storage. Korean Journal of Horticultural Science & Technology, 2005, 23, 3, 282-286.
Itai, A. et al. Effects of Storage Temperature on Fruit Quality and Expression of Sucrose Phosphate Synthase and Acid Invertase Genes in Japanese Pear. The Japanese Society for Horticultural Science (JSHS), 2015
The Commercial Storage of Fruits, Vegetables, and Florist and Nursery Stocks. Agricultural Research Service Agriculture, Handbook Number 66, 2016, 205-208
Jin Gao, et al. Role of ethylene response factors (ERFs) in fruit ripening. Food Quality and Safety, 2020, 4, 15–20
Chino, S. et al. Effect of low-temperature periods on fruit characteristics of ‘Le Lectier’ pears [Pyrus communis] during ripening. Horticultural Research (Japan). 2010, 10 235-241
How should I store cut fruit and vegetables? USDA, 2023.
Andress, E.L. Preserving food: freezing fruit. University of Georgia Extension, 2019.
The Big Thaw – Safe Defrosting Methods. USDA, 2013
Davide Sardella. et al. A Comprehensive Review of the Pear Fungal Diseases. International Journal of Fruit Science, 2016, 16:4, 351-377.
Harker, F.R., Johnston, J.W. Importance of texture in fruit and its interaction with flavour. Fruit and Vegetable Flavour, 2008, 132-149.
Porat, R. Fallik. E. Production of off-flavours in fruit and vegetables under fermentative conditions. Fruit and Vegetable Flavour, 2008, 150-164.
Silva, J.V.B. et al. An overview of mycotoxins, their pathogenic effects, foods where they are found and their diagnostic biomarkers. Food Sci Technol [Internet]. 2022;42:e48520.