My Pear Is Brown Inside: Is It Safe To Eat?

Pears are delicious fruits, but they have a tendency to turn brown at the slightest bump, which is frustrating. You might be concerned by brown spots inside your fruit, and wondering whether brown pears are still safe to eat.

In general, pears that have gone brown inside are fine to eat, because these soft fruits bruise easily, and bruised flesh will not hurt you. However, you should be aware that a bruised pear will go off more quickly than an unbruised one, and moldy pears are not safe to eat.

In this article, we’re going to explore what causes bruising in pears, whether a bruised pear is safe to consume, and whether you should cut off bruised flesh.

What Makes Pears Go Brown Inside?

pears

A few different things can cause a pear to turn brown inside, including:

  • Bruising during transport, handling, or packing
  • Being overripe and starting to decay inside
  • The oxidization process

Let’s look at these in a little more detail.

Bruised Pears

Bruising is common with soft fruits like pears, and it may not always show on the skin. The inside of a pear can be bruised by something bumping the fruit, even if the outside looks fine.

Pickers and handlers try to prevent pears from getting damaged during transportation, but it inevitably does happen, and many people find that their pears have at least some browning inside, especially when they have been transported overseas. This is not unusual at all.

Overripe Pears

One of the frustrating things about pears is that it can be difficult to tell whether the pear is ripe or not from the outside. This is because pears, unlike some fruits, ripen from the inside outward, and this makes it very tricky to tell when they are ripe.

They can look as though they aren’t ready, even when the insides are turning to mush. Since external factors can affect how quickly they ripen (amount of sun, rain, etc.), it isn’t unusual for pears to be overripe even before they get to the store.

This often results in browning inside the pear, rather than on the surface, which can be very frustrating. If you find that a lot of pears have gone brown and mushy inside, but not outside, it’s likely that they were picked too late. There isn’t much that you can do about this, unfortunately.

Even if the pear was not overripe when you picked it up from the store, it’s easy to let this happen during storage at home, because pears may stay hard and green on the outside for longer than you would expect. Eat pears as soon as they feel ripe.

The Oxidization Process

Browning is caused by exposure to oxygen, which usually happens when the tissues have been damaged. If your pear has a damaged surface, oxygen will get to the inner tissues, and this will cause them to turn brown quickly.

The pear is also likely to rot pretty fast if the external skin has been damaged, so be wary of any pears that have visible damage to the skin.

Are Brown Pears Safe To Eat?

Many pears with a small amount of browning will still be perfectly safe to consume, yes. You will need to assess how bad the browning is and whether the pear has started to decay before you can decide whether to eat it or not.

If the pear has taken on an alcoholic smell or if the brown area has gone very wet and mushy, it isn’t safe to eat. You may be able to cut out localized brown areas, but if a lot of the inside of the pear has turned brown, there is a high chance that the rest of the flesh will also have been compromised.

You should also look out for any signs of mold on the flesh. Blue, green, or white flecks are clear indicators that the pear is decaying and should not be eaten, because it is very likely to make you sick. Again, you can cut off very small areas, but in general, if the flesh is going moldy, the pear needs to be discarded.

If your pear smells odd, you should not eat any of the fruit. A change in scent often means that the pear has been infected by bacteria and it could give you food poisoning if you consume it. Always smell a pear that has started to turn brown, and discard any that are sour or alcoholic.

Should I Cut Off Brown Bits Of Pear?

If there are just some small, light brown spots in the pear’s flesh, you may still be able to eat it without an issue. You can cut these out if you prefer, or eat them if you don’t mind the slightly mushier texture that they are likely to have.

For pears that have larger brown spots, it’s a good idea to cut away some of the good flesh too, as this minimizes the risk of you eating any parts that have been contaminated. You might want to chop off about 1 cm of good flesh around the bad.

How Should You Store Pears?

Unripe pears can be stored on the counter, but once they are ripe, pears ought to be transferred to the fridge, as they tend to ripen and then start to decay very quickly. You therefore need to keep them chilled, preferably between 35 and 45 degrees F.

If you have discovered a pear with bruising on the outside, it is a good idea to cut it up, remove the brown bits, and use up the rest. Because the flesh of a pear is soft, the browning will quickly spread and contaminate the rest of the fruit, and may make it unsafe to eat.

Conclusion

Pears are often brown inside, which is frustrating for the people who buy them. The fruit ripens on the inside first, meaning it can be difficult to determine when they should be picked. They also bruise easily, and bruises will quickly spread through the soft flesh, making it go off much more quickly. Brown pears are usually okay to eat, as long as they aren’t sour or alcoholic.