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.
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.