How to Pick Pears at the Grocery Store - The Produce Moms

We all know that pears are among the most beloved fruits, but people are often confused on how to pick a pear from the grocery store.  When are they ripe?  How do I tell?  How to pick pears from the grocery store?  We will help clarify all your questions, so you can experience the peak flavor pears.

Pears are a unique fruit because they ripen best off the tree. We have to remember that pears are harvested when the fruit is fully mature, but not quite ripe. This keeps the flavor at a peak and stops the soft flesh from becoming granular. Unlike other fruits, pears ripen from the inside out.  The full maturity of a pear is reached from being stored at room temperature.

At the Grocery Store

Grocery stores usually keep fully mature but less ripe pears on display so they can keep them on display for several days without them getting overripe.  They also want to assure that the pears will ripen at home so customers can experience the “pearfect” flavor.

Check the Neck

So how do you pick a pear or know if it is ripe or not?  We have a few pointers:

  • Check the neck™ for ripeness.  Apply slight pressure to the neck of the pear with your thumb, and if it yields to the pressure, it is ripe
  • Choose firm pears with the stem intact.
  • If the belly of the pear is soft, it is likely overripe, but those pears are still good in soups and smoothies.

How to Pick a Pear

How to Store

If your pears happen to be ripe when you buy them, you want to use them right away, or you can refrigerate them for up to 5 days to help slow down further ripening. If your pears are firm and still need time to ripen, leave them out in room temperature. Make sure that you check them daily to ensure that you catch them at their perfect ripeness.

Once you slice or cut your pear, oxidation will kick in.  It is a natural process that occurs when the flesh of the pear is exposed to oxygen.  In order to slow down the oxidation, you can use lemon juice to give you a little extra time! Lightly poaching pears and can also slow down the browning process. But as a rule of thumb, we suggest that you eat a cut pear soon after it is cut in order to maximize the flavor profile.

What else can you do with pears while they are ripening at home? You can use them as a natural and rustic decoration.  You can simply place them in a fruit bowl, or you can make a centerpiece that will make an elegant addition to your tablescape.

Nutrients of a Pear

Not only are pears deliciously sweet and juicy, they are also good for your health.  Pears are fat-free, cholesterol-free and sodium-free!  A medium-sized pear contains only 100 calories, and they also are an excellent source of fiber and Vitamin C. A medium pear not only satisfies one whole serving of fruit, but it also provides 190 mg of potassium, which is considered an under-consumed nutrient by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (as well as fiber and Vitamin C).  Pears are known as a nutrient-dense food which is any food that provides vital nutrients (such as vitamins and minerals), with relatively low calories. Nutrient-dense foods are also usually higher in fiber and water, and with these components, they tend to make us feel full faster and longer.


How to Serve Pears

5 Ways to Cut a Pear

Breakfast – Pear Breakfast Popovers
Pear Breakfast Popovers

The Pear Popovers are an elegant and delicious breakfast recipe that is easy to make. The simple batter is whipped up in the blender and poured into a muffin tin filled with warm, cinnamon-spiced pears. After 25 minutes in the oven, they become light, fluffy and irresistibly golden brown. View the full recipe here.

Lunch – Sweet and Sour Spiraled Pear and Cucumber Salad

Pear and Cucumber Salad

Pears offer a crisp and refreshing element in any salad and enhances the flavor of vegetables. Both cucumbers and pears are ideal for turning into twirly, noodle-like strands.  This crunchy salad is great for a light lunch packed with flavor.  View the full recipe here.

Snack – Pear Toast

Pear Toast

Skip the bread.  Toast your favorite variety of pears and use your favorite toppings: bananas, avocado, ricotta cheese, tomatoes, cucumbers and salami to name a few.  The combinations are endless.  View some possibilities here.

Dinner – Pear Gorgonzola Flatbread
Pear Gorgonzola Flatbread
Recipe and Picture Courtesy of Chelan Fresh

Pears, sweet onions, walnuts and gorgonzola make this flatbread pizza packed with flavor and a little bit of crunch.  This recipe is a way to elevate your pizza night with the family! View the full recipe here.

Dessert – Fresh Anjou Pear Tart

Fresh Anjou Pear Tart

This delectable pear tart sings with fresh pear flavor! Roasted and ground hazelnuts add a toasty crunch that pairs well with the fresh Anjou pears. View the full recipe here.

Drink – Tangy Pear Mojito

Tangy Pear Mojito

This delightfully refreshing drink is slightly sweet and a little spicy, making it the perfect balance of flavors. It’s especially easy if blended ahead of time. This drink is perfect for your next gathering with friends or family! View the full recipe here.

Perfect “Pear”ings – Pears, Cheese & Wine

Pear, Cheese, and Wine Pairing Guide

Elegant and delish! Pear and cheese trays will elevate your next party or family get together. The trick is choosing the right cheese and pears to serve together, and we have a “PEAR”fect guide to help you out.  View the pairings here.

About USA Pears

USA Pears are grown in the Pacific Northwest (Washington and Oregon), and they produce 84% of the nation’s fresh pear crop. For more information on USA Pears visit And for more recipes and ideas, stay connected through any of their social media channels including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

Author: Lori Taylor

Lori Taylor is the Founder & CEO of The Produce Moms. For ten years she sold fresh produce to over 300 grocery stores throughout the United States, and today she is fully focused on working with the produce supply chain, media, and government to increase fresh produce access & consumption in the US and around the globe. Connect with Lori on LinkedIn.

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