Good Gardening: Picking Pears

Aug 1, 2016


If you like fresh fruit, the phrase tree ripened makes you drool.  But there are important exceptions to the rule.  You need to pick your Bartlett pears while they are firm, green, and mature, so they can ripen into the soft, yellow, juicy fruit you love.

Credit John Fischer

  If you let pears ripen on the tree, many will fall off,  and those that stay on the tree will turn mushy.
  To see if the pears are mature, lift the fruit from the bottom.  If the pear  detaches from the tree easily, it's time to pick.
  I put my pears in a single layer in shallow boxes.  For the later winter pears,  a period of chilling is needed for best ripening.   In my experience, the Bartlett pear will ripen without a chill period, but many sources will suggest a day or two in the fridge even for the common mid summer Bartlett pear.
  Let the pears ripen inside, and get read y to deal with a glut.  That is one problem with the Bartlett pear which has been around, unchanged, since the 1700's.
  I just picked  about 75 pounds of pears, and they will all ripen in the next 3 weeks.  You can store a few ripe pears in the refrigerator, but for me, dealing with hundreds of pears involves fruit drying.
  Quartered, cored, and dried in the sun, or dehydrator,  juicy pears will turn into candy that you can eat all winter.  Canned pears were the old standard for preservation, but for me, drying is the way to go.
  If you enjoy a summer pear, you will love the winter pears.  Comice, Anjou, Bosc, Seckle, and Nelis are all winter varieties that are picked in the fall, and will produce fruit well into winter.  After storing my Comice pears in the fridge for six weeks, I took them out a dozen at a time and we had pears through mid January.
  Pear juice dripping off your chin- it's a New Years Eve tradition.