How to Pick Pears at the Grocery Store


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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.

5 Ways to Cut a Pear

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.

About Lori

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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