Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Season for Pears

It is hard for me to admit that it took 50 years for me to learn about ripening pears. A Bartlett Pear, the type that is usual for canned pears, ripens easily off the tree for a day or two.

The pears we grow require special treatment for turning them into a soft, mellow pear. For fifty years we picked 'hard pears' and turned them into sticky sweet pear preserves or a pear pie, made like an apple pie with lots of sugar. 

Eventually I learned how to look at a pear, note if the little white speckles turned brown, turn the pear to the side and if it comes off, it's ready for special treatment.

A mature pear turns a different green. Left on the tree, it ripens from the center outward so that a soft pear on the tree has a rotten center. Picked at maturity, refrigerated for about 2 weeks and then brought to room temperature for about 5-7 days, the pear ripens and softens.

Red color usually indicates it grew in the sun, not that it is ripe.

We have a refrigerator full of pears. I marked the last containers with the date so I'll know when 2 weeks passes. Certain varieties never get ripe for eating but will make tastier preserves when properly ripened. One tree -- and I hate to admit I didn't mark which was which when we planted them -- is a good pear for eating and we are enjoying juicy, tasty pears from it.

More information on ripening pears is available at Ohio State and

Colorado State University sites.

Nobody I've talked to locally has ever heard of ripening pears. I wonder why we didn't learn about this?


  1. So much to learn on pears, I never got the hang of picking them or getting them properly ripe. Plus those ones that come in the gift baskets, some are good and others too hard.

  2. How interesting, great post. I didn't know that about pears. I've never grown them. TFS

  3. I have never grown pears. But I buy mostly Bartlett pears at the grocery and put them in a bowl on the counter with other ripe fruit for a few days and most of them ripen to a juicy, sweet treat.


I look forward to comments and questions and lively discussion of gardening and related ideas.

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