When to Pick Pears 


Fall pears will ripen on the tree and can be picked as soon as they are a little loose at the stem.  But pick them a little unripe – just when they start turning yellow.  If you wait until they are beginning to soften, they will not keep well.  Keep some at room temperature to soften and eat.  Store a few in your refrigerator’s crisper and slow them down a bit over a few weeks.  But fall pears aren’t really good keepers.  For longer storage, choose winter pears.


Winter pears should not be allowed to ripen on the tree.  This is very, very important, as they will get very soft and squishy.  They will rot from the inside out and your year’s effort will be wasted.  So pick them green and hard.  Think about the pears you buy at the market – they aren’t ripe.


When the fruit begins to fall from the tree -- that is your cue to begin picking.  Choose the pears that come off of the tree fairly easily.  It is as simple as that.  If you have to yank hard to get the fruit off, then it probably isn’t ready to be picked.  Store winter pears in the crisper of your refrigerator for at least 3 or 4 weeks to allow them to “cure.”  Then take them out, as you need them, and let them soften at room temperature- this will take another week or so.  If any start to rot in the crisper, toss them so that you don’t spoil the rest.  With this procedure, your pears be delicious and will last for months. You’ll be enjoying fresh pears at Christmas.


Asian pears ripen on the tree and do not need to be picked green.  Again, like fall pears, it is best to pick them a little unripe so that they keep better.  Wait until the skin begins to turn a little bit yellow.  Even the brownish varieties will show some golden colored hues as they become ripe.  As with any fruit, a taste test confirms their ripeness.  The first year, you will probably pick them a little too unripe, as you will be anxious to get your teeth into the fruit that you have so lovingly cared for.  But with each crop year, your eye will begin to better recognize the ripeness.  And you won’t miss that distinct “spicy” flavor of the Asian varieties.