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Can You Eat Unripe Pears? And How To Tell If Pears Are Ripe

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It is increasingly hard to find good, tasting pears that are completely ripe at the market, so it is normal to ask yourself if you can eat unripe pears?

Eating unripe fruits sometimes has some health benefits, like mango, but most of the time is not worth eating them raw since they are way too firm and don’t taste as good as a ripe one.

Some fruits don’t ripen anymore after they are picked up, so if you choose an unripe fruit from the market, that is the best you will have.

But when we talk about unripe pears, this is not the case, pears will continue to ripen when you leave them in the fruit bowl, so there is no reason to eat them unripe only if you like them this way.

I know some people like unripe pears since they are more crunchy, so I decided to research if this is safe for your health. In this article, I will share what I found about eating unripe pears and what you can do with them, and how to buy a good tasting, fully ripe pear so you will not be in this situation.

unripe pears

Can you eat unripe pears?

Yes, it is safe to eat unripe pears. There are no immediate health threats from eating unripe pears. However, you must keep in mind that unripe pears are usually crunchier and, if consumed in large quantities, your stomach can have a hard time digesting them. This is not a side effect of unripe pears, but rather of eating too much crunchy food, it doesn’t have to be pears necessarily.

Considering that pears continue to ripen after you pick them, there will be fewer situations when you are forced to eat them unripe. So if you are not in a hurry to eat them, it is much better to let them in a fruit bowl until they are fully ripe in order to enjoy a good-tasting and easy-to-eat pear.

Read Also: Best Pear Substitute

How do you ripen pears faster?

Pears, like mango, apples, bananas, avocados, kiwis, and so on will emit a gas called ethylene which makes other fruits around them ripen faster.

So if you want your pears to ripen faster, you must expose them as much as you can to this gas.

-The first way to do this is to place your pears in a paper bag, which will force the ethylene to stay there. It is better if you have more pears in the same paper bag.

-The second way is to place the pears close to other fruits that emit ethylene. The most well-known ones are bananas, apples, and avocados.

ripen pears

If you do one of the things from above to faster the ripening process, you must check them frequently because there are chances that they will go fast from unripe to overripe, and you may not like your pears like that.

For me, the pears are best when they are still a bit firm but not so firm that it is hard to chew through them and a bit moist, not those overripe pears that are way too moist. I always joke with my spouse that those overripe pears are good to eat in the shower.

How to know when pears are ripe

Pears are ripe from the inside out, so the first thing you have to do in order to check if your pears are ripe is to gently push with your thumb near the steam, which is the part that is closer to the middle of the pear and see if it gives a bit. If it doesn’t give at all, that should not be a problem since the pear will continue to ripe at home, but if you plan to eat it right away, that pear may not be the best.

Usually, the color is a good indication of the ripeness of fruit, but in the case of pears doesn’t help that much, only in the case of Barlett pears which will go from green to yellow while they ripen. 

But with the other varieties, the color of the pear doesn’t reflect its ripeness, so you will have to check the texture with your thumb, as I said before.

Pears are not picked when they are completely ripe since they don’t get fully ripe on the tree. But instead, they are picked when they reach the desired size and left to ripe afterwards.

What to do with unripe pear

When you get unripe pears from the market, the first thing you can do is to let them ripe on the counter close to other fruits and place them into a paper bag. Depending on how unripe they were when bought, the pears might need 3-5 days to become completely ripe.

So if your plan is to eat them as they are, this is the best thing you can do. If you plan to eat them later, you can store them in the refrigerator for up to two weeks and get them out a few days before eating or using them.

But If you want to use unripe pears right away, here are some good uses for them:

-Salad. You can use them in a salad where their crunch texture might be a nice addition to the salad, be it a fruit salad or even a vegetable salad with pears. Pears work well with a roast duck breast salad.

-Poached Pears with red wine. If this doesn’t sound delicious, I don’t know what will. Here you can find a recipe for that. Poaching them will make them a bit softer, but since they are crunchy, they will remain whole as opposed to an overripe pear which will most probably crumble when poached.

-Baking. You can use unripe pears in baking since they will get softer when baked, and most probably, you will add extra sugar to compensate for their lack of sweetness.

Read Also: Why Are Pears Gritty ?

How to buy a good pear

The most important thing if you want to have a delicious pear is to know what to look for when you buy them since that is the first and most important step.

I will give you some things to check for when you buy pears from the market:

-Texture. For sure, the most important factor when choosing a pear is its texture. As I said before, you have to check the top of the pear near the stem by pressing it with your thumb, if you want a ready-to-eat pear, it should give a bit when gently pressed.

If the pear is soft on the belly part, which is far away from the middle of the pear, that signifies that the pear is overripe.

Also, there should not be any weird random soft spots that can signify that they were not transported or stored properly.

-Color. As we said before, the color is a good indication that the pear is ripe only in the case of the Barlett variety. But you can check if the pear has brown spots, which can signify that the pear has gone bad.

-Smell. The smell is a good indication as well. We all know and like how a fresh, good-tasting pear smells, it is somehow floral and fruity, and certainly, it is hard not to like it. So if you want to pick a pear that is ready to eat, the smell should be there. With the unripe pears, they will probably have no smell at all.

Picking a good pear depend a lot on how quickly you want to eat it or use it in baking or something else. If you pick a pear that is ready to eat and perfectly ripe, it will probably go bad in a couple of days. So if you plan to eat the pear after more than a few days, it will be best to go for the slightly unripe ones.


The conclusion is that eating an unripe pear is safe in small quantities. But it is better to let them ripe if you want to enjoy a pear with a nice texture, easy to chew through it, and a delicious taste.

So first of all, make sure you choose the best pears you can from the market and then use the store them properly depending on how fast you want to eat them.

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