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What To Do With Unripe Pears | 3 Easy Pear Recipes

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Do you have a lot of hard, unripe pears? Each year our pear tree overproduces. Besides that, it wasn’t properly pruned for years, leaving us with smaller immature fruit. Over the years, I’ve learned what to do with unripe pears so they don’t go to waste.

Stewed pear recipe.

If you’re in the same boat, I hope you enjoy these three simple pear recipes!

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What To Do With hard, Unripe Pears

Before we dive into the specific recipes, let’s learn some basics about pears.

Whether you have your own producing pear tree, or you are buying pears from the store, sometimes you just get stuck with a pear that won’t ripen.

Is it OK to eat unripe pears?

So let’s talk about this first. Is it ok to eat unripe pears?

Raw pears that haven’t ripened shouldn’t be eaten. They don’t contain the nutrients you need, they won’t taste good, and they can cause bloating and stomach pain.

Pear dish on a countertop.

However, you can certainly cook unripe pears! I’ll dive more into that in a bit.

SHOP THE LOOK

How to Tell When a Pear is ready to Harvest?

Pears ripen OFF the tree.

If you leave a pear on the branch too long, it will turn mushy inside before it feels soft on the outside. So, how do you know when a pear is ready to harvest?

Chopped pears on a counter.

The easiest method is to try picking it. Grasp the pear by the bottom and gently lift straight up.

If the stem breaks off easily, it was ready. If it doesn’t break, leave it on the branch until it comes off without resistance.

Different pear species are ready at different times between August and October in most locations. Check your local area to see when it’s most likely time to start checking your pears!

How Can I ripen a Pear Faster?

Once a pear has been picked, the ripening process occurs when sitting at room temperature.

Pot of pears for what to do with unripe pears.

If you refrigerate your unripe pears, they will remain hard. Cold storage is a great way to store them for lengths of time until you’re ready to use them.

Once you’re ready for your pear to ripen, simply place it in a fruit bowl at room temperature. It will likely take up to a week to ripen.

If you want to ripen a pear faster, you can place it in a paper bag or next to bananas. The gases from the ripening process will help speed up the timeframe.

What to do with Pears that Won’t Ripen

However, if you’re like me, you inevitably have pears that just never seem to want to get ripe! There could be a few reasons for that.

Adding honey to a pot of unripe pears.

The most common is that they were picked too soon. But even hard pears can be put to good use! So, what can I do with pears that won’t ripen?

Bowl of stewed pears and yogurt.

Make these three delicious recipes!

  • Pear Pie
  • Stewed Pears
  • Pear Sauce

Recipes for what to do with unripe pears

Let’s start with pear pie.

What To Do With Unripe Pears | 3 Easy Pear Recipes

Baking unripe pears works wonderfully because they tend to hold their shape better.

Pear Pie Recipe

Often, baking with ripe pears results in mushy pear pieces. So I actually prefer to bake with slightly underripe pears.

Snag my pear pie recipe in this post.

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Stewed Pears Recipe

The next recipe for what to do with unripe pears is for stewed pears. This is a great recipe for less-than-perfect or bruised pears.

Bowling pears in a pot.

Stewed pears are the perfect sweet treat on their own. I also love to include them into:

  • Yogurt and granola
  • As an ice cream topping
  • On oatmeal

This stewed pears recipe is also the foundation for pear sauce, which I will share next. So let’s begin with how to make stewed pears.

Stewed pears in a bowl.

I have a large number of pears, so I will be sharing a big recipe for those who have pears in bulk. Stewed pears cook down significantly, so make a big batch and enjoy with friends and family. Or, you can divide this recipe in half for a smaller portion.

Stewed pears Ingredients

  • 32 pears
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 Tbs lemon juice
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp honey

First, slice the pear flesh off the core. Most people prefer to also peel their pears. However, I leave the skin on as that is where the majority of the nutrients lie.

What to do with unripe pears - stewed pears.

Leaving the skin on can sometimes result in a bitter aftertaste. If you find that’s a problem, add in a few more tablespoons of brown sugar.

Next, combine all ingredients, except the sliced pears, in a pot. Bring the water mixture to a boil and then simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar.

Add the pears and simmer for 20-25 minutes, or until pears are soft. (Note: If your pears are already ripe, you can shorten the cook time to 10-15 minutes.)

Kitchen shelves and countertop with pear dishes.

Due to the fact that you are cooking with unripe pears, you may have excess water once your pears have softened. If that’s the case, simply drain the excess. Otherwise, you should be left with a delicious pear syrup!

Pear Sauce Recipe

Now, once you’ve gotten to this point you may have an overabundance of stewed pears. If that’s the case, take it one step further and make pear sauce!

Pear sauce is just like applesauce, but with pears.

Pear sauce recipe.

To make pear sauce, simply fully drain your stewed pairs from the above recipe. Then, add 1 cup of white sugar and stir to coat.

Place the pears in a pot and cook on low for 10-15 minutes. Your simmer should create a bubbly mixture as the sugars cook. Once your pears are very soft, remove from the heat and let cool.

If your mixture is watery once cooled, drain first. If not, use an immersion blender to puree the pears into pear sauce. That’s it!

Immersion blender in pears.
What to do with unripe pears - stewed pears.

Stewed Pears and Pearsauce

Yield: 20
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

Two recipes in one: These stewed pears are perfectly soft and sweet, with or without the skin. While it is an amazing stand alone dish, the delicious fall flavor also pairs perfectly with yogurt, ice cream or oatmeal. Stop at the stewed pears or keep baking to create pearsauce.

Ingredients

  • 32 pears
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 Tbs lemon juice
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 cup white sugar (pearsauce only)

Instructions

    1. Slice the pear flesh off the core. Peel if desired.
    2. Next, combine all ingredients, except the sliced pears, in a pot. Bring the water mixture to a boil and then simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
    3. Add the pears and simmer for 20-25 minutes, or until pears are soft.
    4. Due to the fact that you are cooking with unripe pears, you may have excess water once your pears have softened. If that's the case, simply drain the excess. You're done!
    5. If you'd like to continue to make pear sauce:
  • Simply fully drain your stewed pairs from the above recipe. Then, add 1 cup of white sugar and stir to coat.
  • Place the pears in a pot and cook on low for 10-15 minutes. Your simmer should create a bubbly mixture as the sugars cook. Once your pears are very soft, remove from the heat and let cool.
  • If your mixture is watery once cooled, drain first. If not, use an immersion blender to puree the pears into pear sauce.

Notes

(Note: If your pears are already ripe, you can shorten the cook time to 10-15 minutes for the stewed pears.)

Pear size impacts serving sizes.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 20 Serving Size: 1/2 cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 222
Pear sauce and stewed pears on a counter.

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Thanks so much for stopping by the blog today! I hope you enjoyed learning about what to do with unripe pears. Please let me know what you think of the recipes!

Unripe pear dishes on a countertop.

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You can also visit my recipe archives here.

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~Sarah

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