A quintessential fall fruit, pears are a wonderful way to enjoy everything sweet and juicy the season has to offer. Learn how to cut a pear into slices, chop it into cubes and even hollow it out for stuffing with this step by step guide.
Pears come in many different varieties including the green anjou shown here, barlett, red bartlett and bosc. While other varieties exist, these are the four most common types you’ll find in markets and grocery stores in the U.S.
How to cut a pear
While they vary slightly in flavor and texture, the method for cutting pears is basically the same. Whether you choose to chop, dice, slice or hollow out for stuffing, this guide will walk through the easiest way to cut a pear.
Step 1 — Rinse and cut in half
Begin by rinsing the pear under cold water. You may also choose to submerge the fruit in a 3:1 ratio of water to vinegar to help sanitize. Rub the fruit well using your hands to dislodge any dirt, debris and rinse well to wash away bacteria.
Once the pears are clean, the first step in cutting a pear is to slice it in half lengthwise starting from the stem straight through to the bottom. This cut will expose the core of the fruit.
Step 2 — Remove the core
There may be a thin stringy piece that extends from the stem down into the core. This is called the calyx. It’s from the pear’s flower that stays attached after the fruit is fully formed. This can simply be removed using a sharp knife to lift it out of the fruit. In a ripe pear, it will come out with relative ease.
The core and calyx can be discarded or composted.
If you choose to make stuffed pears whether sweet baked pears or savory mushroom stuffed pears, continue to hollow out the fruit using a spoon or melon baller to create a larger cavity for the stuffing. Save the scooped out flesh to use in a pear smoothie.
Step 3 — Slicing a pear
Slices are a great cut whether enjoying as a snack or roasting and adorning whipped ricotta bowls for dessert. They’re also the perfect sweet offset in this otherwise savory pear bacon brie grilled cheese.
To slice a pear, turn the cored half cut side down on a flat surface. Using a sharp knife, thinly slice down the length of pear for longer slices or slice across the pear horizontally for shorter slices.
Spreading thinly sliced pieces out in a fan shape is a beautiful way to garnish salads.
Step 4 — Chopping a pear
If chopped or diced pears are needed for your recipe, the process is a little different.
Once the pear is rinsed and clean, slice from top to bottom around the core. This will leave you with four pieces and a small rectangular core with the stem in the middle.
Discard the core or eat around it so as not to waste any fruit I like to do!
Place a piece of the cut pear down flat on a cutting board and using a sharp knife, cut into 1/4 – 1/2″ thick slices. Turn the pieces at a 90 degree angle and the slice the other way. This will result in a coarse chop.
To dice the pear, simply make the slices thinner and the cuts closer together.
Do you eat the skin of a pear?
You can absolutely eat the skin of the pear if desired. According to Healthline, the peel contains half of the fiber content of the pear. It also boasts up to six times more polyphenols than the flesh itself. Polyphenols are antioxidants which protect against oxidative damage in cells.
If a recipe calls for peeled pears, use a vegetable peeler to remove the skin before coring and cutting.
When is a pear ripe?
As one of the of main winter fruits, pears taste best when eaten in season. Judging the ripeness of a pear, however, is a little tricky. They don’t turn a different color during the ripening process like a banana and their change in texture is more subtle than that of a stone fruit. Pears fall somewhere in the middle.
Give them a gentle press on the outside near the stem. If there’s a bit of give, the pear is ripe and ready to eat. If it’s hard as a rock, it needs a few more days.
Once a pear has ripened to your desire, it can be placed in the refrigerator to halt further ripening until you’re ready to eat it.
Storing cut pears
Once pears are sliced or chopped, they’ll quickly turn brown like apples do. This process is called enzymatic browning. It doesn’t mean the fruit is bad at all, it’s just a natural process that occurs when the enzymes are exposed to air.
To inhibit browning on cut pears, squeeze or brush something acidic over them. A little lemon juice or vinegar will work great.
Store the pears in an air-tight container or wrap tightly with plastic wrap and keep refrigerated for up to three to four days.
More helpful kitchen guides
- Learn how to cut watermelon into sticks with this guide — it’s easier than you might think!
- Cut potatoes into wedges for making the best steak fries or grilled potato wedges.
- Say goodbye to overcooked turkey in this straightforward guide on how long to cook ground turkey.
How to Cut a Pear
- 1 ripe pear
- sharp knife
- cutting board
- Rinse and clean the pear well under cold water.
- Using a sharp knife, slice down the length of the pear to create two halves.
- Use a small spoon or melon baller to scoop out the core.
- For stuffed pears — scoop out a bit more to create a cavity large enough for the stuffing.
- For sliced pears — lay one half of the pear on a flat surface, cut side facing down. Slice lengthwise from top to bottom of the pear in as thick or thin a manner as desired. For shorter slices, slice horizontally across the pear.
- For chopped or diced pears — cut around the core so that there are four pieces of pear. Lay a flat side of one of the pieces down on the cutting board and slice into 1/4 -1/2" thick pieces. Turn the slices at a 90 degree angle and slice in the opposite direction for chopped pears. To create a smaller dice, simply make thinner slices and cuts.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
Gina Matsoukas is an AP syndicated writer. She is the founder, photographer and recipe developer of Running to the Kitchen — a food website focused on providing healthy, wholesome recipes using fresh and seasonal ingredients. Her work has been featured in numerous media outlets both digital and print, including MSN, Huffington post, Buzzfeed, Women’s Health and Food Network.