There is a reason why the FDA lists pears as one of the top 20 most popular fruits. In addition to its sweet, juicy taste and pleasing texture, one medium-sized pear is chock-full of nutrition. Weighing in at only about 100 calories per serving, each pear contributes 24 percent of your daily fiber requirement, 10 percent of your vitamin C requirement and 2 percent of your calcium requirement. Freezing pears is a good way to ensure you can enjoy them year-round, and proper preparation ensures that your pears are just as healthy frozen as they were fresh.
Rinse the pears in cool water, and then peel away the outer skin with a vegetable or apple peeler.
Cut each pear in half with a sharp utility knife and scoop out the core with a small spoon.
Slice the pear halves into ¼- to ½-inch-thick slices. You should be able to get about 12 slices from a medium-sized pear and 16 from a large pear. If necessary, trim away any remaining seeds or stems from the core area of each slice.
Add the water and unsweetened apple or white grape juice to a stockpot to create a very light freezing syrup. This is enough to fill 16- to 25-quart size containers. Although you can choose to freeze the pears with no sweetener, a small amount of sweetener helps the pears maintain their texture and color.
Bring the liquid to a boil on your stovetop and add the pear slices; reduce the heat to low and simmer for one to two minutes.
Remove the pears from the pot with a slotted spoon and add them to the pint- or quart-size freezer containers. Pack the fruit tightly, but without mashing it.
Add 3/4 tsp. ascorbic acid per quart of freezing syrup, allow the syrup to cool and then pour the liquid into the freezer containers. Leave 1/2 inch of space between the liquid and the top of the container for a pint-sized container and 1 inch of space for a quart-sized container.
Seal the containers and place them into the freezer.
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- A good estimate is to purchase 1 lb. fresh pears to make 2 cups frozen pear slices. Look for pears that are crisp and firm, ripe but not overripe. If necessary, store the pears in a cool, dark area to promote ripening before you prepare them for freezing.
- If you are slicing a large number of pears, prevent the slices from turning brown before you freeze them by adding them to a bowl of water containing 1 tsp. ascorbic acid.
- You can freeze pears for up to 18 months.
Based in Green Bay, Wisc., Jackie Lohrey has been writing professionally since 2009. In addition to writing web content and training manuals for small business clients and nonprofit organizations, including ERA Realtors and the Bay Area Humane Society, Lohrey also works as a finance data analyst for a global business outsourcing company.