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How to Wash Pears

Consuming pears without washing is not a good practice as it could be potentially harmful to bacteria. Here are ways on how to wash pears along with some tips for speeding up the ripening of pears.

Woman washing ripe pears in the kitchen sink.

When summertime comes to an end, we start missing some of the delicious fruit we enjoyed during the whole of summer. However, the autumn and winter seasons bring along some of their own juicy fruit, one of them being the pear! There are many types of pears that come in different shapes and colors, and you can enjoy them throughout fall and winter. 

You may be wondering why you can’t just pick a scrumptious pear off the tree and eat it immediately. That’s because pears are part of a group of fruits and vegetables called “The Dirty Dozen.” These twelve fruits and vegetables are most likely to be covered in pesticides, making it necessary to wash and clean them properly before consumption.

This article will explain in more detail how to wash your pears so that they are healthy and safe to eat.  

What Are Pears? 

Close-up of fresh pears with leaves.

Pears are a small fruit, about the size of an apple, with a mild sweet taste and crisp and somewhat gritty texture. There are over 3000 different varieties of pears available worldwide, all of them varying in size, color, shape, and taste. Pears are packed with vitamins and minerals, especially Vitamin C, folate, magnesium, and copper.

They are also low in calories and fit well into any healthy diet. 

Why Should I Wash Pears? 

Little girl eating pear.

You may think it somewhat unnecessary to wash your fruit before consuming it. After all, they look pretty clean, and what harm can it do to skip washing them? 

The truth is, it can do harm. Unwashed fruit may be covered in pesticides and dirt, and bacteria that can be potentially harmful. Bacterial contamination from food is real, and you don’t want pathogenic organisms from your fruit basket to spread to the rest of the kitchen when you prepare the fruit. 

Fruits like pears can harbor bacteria like Salmonella, Hepatitis A., and E. coli. Unless you’re picking the pear from a tree in your garden, the chance of it being contaminated with germs and bacteria is high. Before they reach the store, pears are picked, packed, and transported, giving plenty of opportunities for harmful microbes to contaminate them. 

Also, pesticides are toxins that are meant to kill off weeds and insects. You don’t want this poison inside your body, so always make sure to wash pears and other fruits before consumption. 

How To Wash Pears

Woman hands washing pears in the kitchen sink.

Sometimes when you’re strolling about at your local fresh produce market, it can be so tempting to grab a fresh pear and eat it right there and then. However, since you don’t plan on peeling the pear, it may be unhealthy to eat it without washing it first. There are a few different ways to wash pears to remove all the dirt, bacteria, and pesticides. 

  1. Wash Pears Using Vinegar, Lemon, and Water

It has been shown that vinegar and lemon are effective at removing harmful microbes from fresh produce. You can wash your pear by making your own homemade vegetable wash. You will need:

  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • ¼ cup white vinegar
  • 2 cups of water

Simply mix all the above ingredients together, put it in a spray bottle, and voila! You have just made your very own vegetable wash. 

To clean the pear:

  1. Go ahead and spray the entire pear with the solution.
  2. Let it sit for about 2 minutes, and then gently rub the surface with your hands before rinsing the pear off under clean water.
  3. Wipe the pear dry with a clean cloth or paper towel, as this will help remove any remaining vinegar solution and extra moisture.
  4. Wash Pears Using Water And A Soft Brush 

An effective way to clean a pear and remove bacteria and debris is by using water and a soft-bristled brush. Dirt, bacteria, and pesticide residue may get stuck within small indentations on the fruit, and using a small, soft brush to clean it is an effective way to make sure your fruit is ready to eat. You want to do this process immediately prior to eating the pear. 

Start by washing your hands with antibacterial soap and make sure the brush that you’re using is clean as well. Wet and rinse the pear under cold water (that’s safe to drink), and use the brush to vigorously scrub the entire exterior of the pear. It’s important to be thorough yet gentle to avoid bruising the pear.

Rinse the brush regularly as you scrub to prevent the build-up of debris in the bristles. Pay special attention to the stem and the calyx of the pear, as these indentations harbor more dirt and bacteria than the rest of the pear. 

The scrubbing process takes about 15-20 seconds, after which you need to run the pear under cold water again to remove the remaining debris you loosened with the brush. Dry the pear with a clean cloth or paper towel. 

You can decide whether you want to peel the pear or consume it with the peel intact. After the cleaning process, both options are healthy and safe.  

Tip: Always wash the pear, even if you plan on removing the pee. This way, there is less risk of transferring bacteria and pesticide residue from the outer surface onto the inner, fleshy part of the fruit. 

Tips For Speeding Up The Ripening Process Of Pears 

Ripe pears inside a brown paper bag.

Did you know that pears don’t ripen on the tree? After mature pears are harvested, they should be left at room temperature until they have ripened into a juicy, sweet, succulent snack that we can enjoy. If you don’t have the patience to wait the process out, here are some tips that help speed up the ripening process of pears:

Tip #1: Store the pears in a brown paper bag

As they ripen, pears release a ripening hormone called ethylene. If you want the pear to ripen quicker, place it in a brown paper bag at room temperature. Doing so will keep the ethylene gas close to the pear and speed up the ripening process. 

Tip #2: Place unripe pears in a bowl with bananas 

Bananas give off the same ripening hormone as pears. By placing the pears close to other fruits that produce ethylene, you will speed up the ripening process. Make sure to keep the bowl at room temperature. 

Tip #3: Chill the pears after buying or harvesting 

Pears don’t ripen quickly at a cool temperature, so you don’t want to refrigerate an unripe pear for an extended time. However, if you chill the pears for 2-3 days after buying them, they will ripen much faster once you place them in a bowl at room temperature! 

Some Interesting Facts About Pears 

Pear fruits hanging from the tree.

  • Pears are a species in the genus Pyros and belong to the rose family 
  • The first pears were cultivated in China 
  • The pear has been the state fruit of Oregon since 2005
  • The wood from pear trees are used to make wooden furniture and instruments 
  • Pears were used as a natural remedy for nausea in ancient Greece
  • Pear trees grow best when they’re planted in volcanic soil 
  • Pear trees can survive for up to 100 years

References:

USA Pears: Ripening and Handling          

Lifehacker: Is The Bacteria On Fruits And Veggies Dangerous?

Healthy Eating: How to Clean Fruits & Vegetables With Vinegar 

It’s a Veg World After All: How To Make Homemade Vegetable Wash

My Fearless Kitchen: How To Wash Fresh Fruits And Vegetables 

Stemilt: How to Ripen Pears 

Tastessence: Extremely Easy Ways to Ripen Pears That Actually Work