Do you have a pear tree in your yard that is just a little overwhelming at the peak harvest time? If so, your kitchen is likely overflowing with rapidly ripening pears that you don’t know what to do with. Try these easy ideas to take advantage of your bounty and enjoy the sweet, subtle flavor of this delicious fruit.
Freeze for smoothies
Pear smoothie? Yes, please. These delectably sweet and silky fruits blend beautifully into a delicious breakfast (or dessert) smoothie. Simply cut them up into manageable chunks and freeze them in freezer-safe zip lock bags. You can also use the frozen pears for cooking and baking recipes. This is an easy, quick way to store an excessive amount of pears once you’ve had your fill of fresh ones for the season.
Overnight Pear Oats
- Disposable crockpot liner
- 6 cups water
- 1½ cups steel-cut oats
- ¾ cup pure maple syrup, plus more for serving
- 1½ tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- 2 pears, chopped small, plus additional pears for serving, if desired
- 1 cup pecans, toasted and roughly chopped
- Half and half, for serving
- Insert the liner into the crockpot. This will help prevent sticking and make cleanup a breeze.
- Stir the water, oats, maple syrup, ginger, salt, and cinnamon together in the slow cooker until well combined. Stir in the pears.
- Cover the crockpot and cook on high for 3 ½. If you want warm oatmeal in the morning, turn it to low and cool for 6 or 7 hours.
- Serve immediately with toppings of your choice. If you want a more savory option, top with some flaked sea salt.
Blend your pairs into a salad dressing with white wine, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper, dijon mustard, and olive oil to taste. Experiment with the flavor and serve over a savory salad with feta or goat cheese.
Easy pear butter
Forget an all-day, labor-intensive canning, and cooking process. This simple, naturally sweetened pear butter takes just 1 hour to whip up and is a wonderful way to use ripening pears. Use it on toast, desserts, or mix into your greek yogurt.
- 3 lbs. ripe pears, peeled, cored and diced
- 3 Tbsp honey
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp salt
- Pinch of ground nutmeg
- Pinch of ground cloves
- Add all ingredients to a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
- Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium-low and cover. Simmer for around 50 minutes, stirring occasionally. Keep the lid slightly off-center to allow venting.
- After pears have cooked down, remove the mixture from the stove and transfer to a blender or food processor.
- Pulse until smooth or desired consistency is reached.
- Transfer to a jam jar with a lid and keep in the fridge for up to 1 week.
- If your pear butter is too thin, it may need to simmer longer. Simply stick it back on the stove and allow it to cook down.
Bake into fruit leather
If you have a dehydrator, go crazy and dehydrate your excess pears. You’ll love having an easy-to-transport snack for road trips or hiking. Pair with a little beef jerky and some nuts, and you’ll have a full meal on your next camping trip. If you don’t have a dehydrator, don’t worry, you can still bake down pear strips in the oven for yummy fruit strips. Do this on a chilly day since having your oven on for 6-10 hours, even at 150 degrees, can really heat up your home. Pears should be between a leathery and crispy texture when done.
Tips for harvesting pears:
Don’t wait until they fall off the tree
Once this delicate fruit falls to the ground, it is often already too bruised to enjoy. Instead of waiting for it to come to you, be proactive in your pear harvesting and pluck the fruit right before it ripens. Pears taste best when harvested slightly under-ripe and allowed to ripen on the counter.
Know what kind of tree you have
There are thousands of pear varieties, so it is critical to know which one is sitting pretty in your yard. Unless you planted the tree yourself, you will probably have to do a little detective work to determine the variety. Since ripe pears can be a range of colors, understanding the type and what it looks like can help determine when to pick your pears.
Don’t forget to share the love! Ask your friends over for a pear picking party and give them a box to take home.