Indications of readiness of pears for harvest?

milehighgirl(CO USDA 5B/Sunset 2B)July 19, 2012

As most of you know I have been struggling to get my grandpa's pear tree to fruit for the past 4 years or more. This year it is showing it's first harvest in probably decades. I have no idea what kind of pear it is, and therefore have no way of knowing what it should be like when it's ready to harvest.

The pears started out red and have progressively gotten green. They are beginning to have a good pear flavor but are still crunchy. They are just under 3 ounces on average.

Is there any indication across-the-board of when a pear is ready to pick?

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Well, as you no doubt already know, pears don't have one set point of being "ripe", it is a continuum from very green and hard to soft and fully ripe, of course most are better ripened off the tree.

It depends a bit on both how you like them, very hard or starting to soften, and also whether or not you want to try to store them (although this is basically just for fall/winter pears, since summer pears won't really keep too long outside of sophisticated controlled atmosphere storage).

Three things I look for -- good flavor/lost any hints of astringency or bitterness that can be found in underripe fruit; seed coats have turned completely brown/black; and, finally, when you take the pear and gently raise it up to put pressure on the stem, it pops easily off of the tree, doesn't fight to stay attached.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2012 at 6:04PM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

I can usually rely on the thumb test, push a thumb tip really hard into the top of the fruit right by the stem. If its hard as a rock its too early. Any give at all and they may be OK for picking. I next lift up and see if they come off easy and if so they are probably ready. Two weeks in the fridge then on the counter for a few days is a requirement for off-tree ripening of pears. Dennis' seed and taste tests are also very useful.


    Bookmark   July 21, 2012 at 11:03PM
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milehighgirl(CO USDA 5B/Sunset 2B)

I appreciate the advice. I don't want to end up with my first harvest full of water-core or bland as cardboard. I probably won't get another chance for a harvest as I will probably sell the property.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2012 at 11:33PM
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