Although related to apples, pears stand out for their distinct look, flavor and texture. An excellent source of fiber and vitamin C, this oval-shaped fruit with a large bottom is most often enjoyed fresh. However, poached pears take this sweet fruit to the next level. Poaching gently cooks the pears in a simple or flavorful syrup or wine, and the fruit absorbs those flavors. If you can't enjoy all of your poached pears right away, freeze them for later.
Peel and core the pears, removing all seeds. Keep them whole or quarter them, depending on your preference.
Bring to a simmer on the stove a large pot containing 1 qt. water, 1/3 cup sugar, the pears and any other flavoring you want. Optional additions include whole spices, such as cinnamon sticks and cloves. Substitute wine for the water if you prefer wine-poached pears.
Cover the pears in the liquid with parchment paper, cut to fit inside the pot, with a small hole in the center to vent. Chef and cookbook author David Lebovitz recommends this technique to keep the pears submerged in the liquid so that they cook evenly.
Cook the pears until they are tender, about 15 to 25 minutes, and then remove the pot from the heat to cool completely.
Pour the cooled pears and syrup into a plastic freezer-safe container. Seal tightly.
Place the container in the freezer until you are ready to use. Poached pears in syrup will last in the freezer for about three months.
To thaw, remove the container holding the poached pears from the freezer at least two hours before serving. You can then reheat it in the microwave or on the stove to serve warm.