The most important etiquette rules on how to serve and eat pears. Tips to be the ideal host or the perfect guest at the dining table.


What pear etiquette is

Pear etiquette is the set of rules to properly serve and eat pears. Such rules help avoid behaviors that can disrespect your hosts or guests, or make you look unpolite.

If you are hosting, follow pear etiquette to appropriately serve it to your guests.

If you are a guest, respect pear etiquette rules to properly eat and enjoy it.

What you should know about pear

Pear is an edible fruit from the eponymous tree. Over 3,000 varieties of pears exist. China is the major producer, accounting for over 65% of the pears in commerce.

Pears range in color from light green, to yellow or even light red. They are wider at the bottom and get thinner on top. They are sweet in taste, with an acidic note and a rich aroma. The texture is slightly granular, crispy, and juicy. Inside, pears have a few small seeds.

How To Serve And Eat pears

Etiquette tips to serve and eat pears

1) How to store pears

Store whole pears out of the fridge if they are not ripe. Store them in a cool place. Away from sources of heat or direct light. Keep them there for 1 to 3 days, until they ripen. 

It is best to store ripe pears in the fridge. Avoid placing them in a sealed container. Do not wrap them in plastic. They will last about 5 or 7 days. Sliced pears can last up to 1 or 3 days.

In the freezer, pears can last for 10 or 12 months.

2) How to clean pears

Always wash an uncut pear before eating it or slicing it. Even a quick wash decreases the risk of contamination from pesticides or other chemicals. 

Place the pears in a bowl of water. Leave them there for 5 to 10 minutes. Then, wash them under running water. Dry them on a kitchen cloth.

3) How to prepare pears 

Cut the pear into quarters with a knife. Using a knife, remove the core, the seeds, and the skin. Chop the pear into chunks, then serve it or cook.

Raw pears are perfect for salads or fruit salads. Mix them with yogurt and cereal. Add them on top of ice cream. Use them to make jams, smoothies, or sauces. Squeeze lemon juice over sliced pears to prevent them from turning dark. 

Slightly unripened pears are best suited for cooking. Bake them in tarts, crumbles, or pies. 

Grill or pan-fry. Pears go well in savory dishes too. 

4) How to serve & present pears

You can serve pears for breakfast, a snack, or as a fruit course after a meal. Pears can accompany savory dishes, such as roasted meat or cheese platters.

If you serve pears whole, do not remove the skin. Serve them washed, in a serving bowl. 

If you serve pears in chunks, it is ideal to remove the skin, the core, and the seeds before serving. Present sliced pears with a serving spoon. You can accompany them with sugar or ice cream. Alternatively, you can serve sliced pears in small individual cups. 

Serve pears at room temperature. Take them out of the fridge between 1 and 2 hours before serving. 

5) Food and wine to pair pears with

You can combine the aroma of the pears with many flavors. Cinnamon. Vanilla. Ginger. Honey. Chocolate. Caramel. Rosemary. Pears can go well with many savory flavors, such as pork meat or roasted poultry.

Pears pair with dairy and cheeses. Serve them with Kefir, yogurt, or Mascarpone. Present pears to accompany cheeses. Blue cheese such as Stilton, Roquefort, or Gorgonzola. Seasoned hard cheeses, like Parmigiano, Grana, or Pecorino. Taleggio or Camembert. Gruyère, Asiago, or Cheddar

Pears are ideal in fruit salads. Combine them with citric fruits, such as lemon, lime, or orange. Berries such as blackberries or raspberries. Other stone fruits, like peaches or nectarines. 

They pair well with nuts too. Such as almonds, chestnuts, pecans, pistachios, or hazelnuts.

You can pair pears with dry red wines or sparkling wines. Alternatively, accompany pears with fortified wines, spirits, or liqueurs. Port. Brandy. Cassis. Rum. Grand Marnier. Whiskey.

6) How to eat pears

The skin of the pear is edible. However, it is common to discard it. The core and the seeds are usually discarded.

When pears are served whole, place one on your plate. Cut the pear into quarters with a knife. Using a knife, remove the core, the seeds, and the skin. Eat the pear with a fork and a knife.

Eat a whole pear in bites only on very informal occasions. 

If pears are served in chunks, eat them with a small spoon or a fork. 

pear etiquette mistakes

Pear etiquette: the worst mistakes

The Rude Index identifies and ranks negative behaviors. 

A high score (8-10) means that the behavior has the potential to trigger a conflict with others. A medium score (4-7) means that the behavior risks making you look inelegant and unsophisticated. More about the Rude Index and its methodology here.  

Avoid the worst pear etiquette mistakes. 

  • 8/10. Serving spoiled or overripe pears.
  • 8/10. Serving unwashed pears.
  • 7/10. Eating a whole pear in bites on formal occasions.
  • 7/10. Serving unripe pears.

Additional information for properly serving pears

How many calories per serving?

Counting calories is important to stay healthy and to correctly plan a menu.

Pears contain 57 calories per 100 grams. An average raw pear weighs around 180 grams and contains around 103 calories.

How to buy the best pears

A crucial factor in pear etiquette is to serve the best product possible to your guests.

Season and availability 

In the Northern Hemisphere, the season for pears is from late summer to early November.

Choose the best

Ripe pears are very delicate and have a limited shelf life. Thus, it is best to buy slightly unripened pears. Then, let them ripen at home.

Ripe pears should have a fragrant aroma. Avoid fruits with bruised or wrinkled skin. 

Alternatives to pears

Apples are valid substitutes for their fragrant texture and aroma.