Pears and cold storage

neptune24August 25, 2012

We have 2 pear trees, and pears have been falling off since early August. I wasn't sure that was a sign to pick the pears, but from reading other articles, apparently it is. I also didn't realize that pears don't ripen on the tree, but now I do. :) (Funny how we've had these pear trees for years and I never knew that. I just thought my trees were defective. LOL.)

I'm not sure what varieties my pears are. (They look the same on both trees, even though they must be different in order for pollination to occur, I guess.) If I took some pics of my pears and posted them, would folks be able to ID them?

Anyway, here's my big question: For pears that are ready to pick in August, do you have to place them in cold storage to get them to ripen properly? If so, will a refrigerator do? And for how many days? Otherwise, I don't know how to keep them at the required temperature of 30-35 degrees F. or whatever.

Thanks for any info.

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>>RE: pears

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* Posted by lucky_p z6 W.KY (My Page) on
Fri, Oct 13, 06 at 13:03

From a friend of mine who's spent his life growing fruits and fruit trees, and used to operate one of the foremost fruit nurseries in the eastern US:

"Most all European pears (exception is the new Green Jade), require post-picking chill to properly mature. Or, when fruit exhibit slight color changes, begin to test pressure (using your thumb) near the stem. When there is a slight "give", pick all the fruit, store at or near 35 degrees for 7 or more days. Then you can remove them as needed, allow them to sit at room temps for 2-4 days which allows them to ripen to peak flavor.
Years ago, I got a letter from an older NAFEX fellow who told me that European types were very difficult to ripen due to varietal quirks or requirements in post harvest handling. He said "If you live long enough to learn how to properly ripen 10 varieties, you'll be lucky".
I'm still working on it!!!"Hope this helps-


    Bookmark   August 25, 2012 at 7:21AM
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olpea(zone 6 KS)

The person who originally wrote that was Ed Fackler, who has much more experience than I do.

I've only got 4 bearing pear trees, however I don't chill all of the pears. I used to, based on that post above (I originally read it on nafex.) Now I only refrigerate some of the pears to extend the fruit. Most pears I don't refrigerate and haven't noticed any difference between the ones refrigerated and the ones not.

The biggest difference I've noticed in quality is when they are picked. It's easy to pick them too late and have most of the fruit already starting to turn brown on the inside. It's also easy to pick them a little too early.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2012 at 9:55AM
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I feel like in the south we have a pretty wide window as far as when to pick pears. Of course this depends on the variety. There were many years when a storm or dust devil came through in late july and knocked off some pears from my trees. For all of the pears that came off the trees before August I ripened them in the fridge and almost always got them to ripen to nice quality. I would then start picking pears the first week in August and would try to have them all off by the last week in August. With the August picked pears I never noticed any diffrence quality wise if I refridgerated them or not, just like Olpea says. I still think a properly ripened pear at its peak is as good a piece of fruit as there is. The best one that I ever fruited was Abate Fetel. Right behind that was Seckle.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2012 at 3:54PM
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gator_rider2(z8 Ga.)

Old way pick in August 27th this to stop from being grainy if ripening off tree be smooth this for Georgia and old variety's zones depict pick date. After picking put in pantry cool no light for 2 weeks they mellow sweet smooth this for hard Pears types cooking canning. Keeping pears over time best cook and can.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2012 at 10:10PM
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Olpea is right, that was Ed Fackler - and I'm in agreement - I don't chill hardly any of my pears - but I'm not into the soft butter/dessert type pears - much prefer Asians and the firmer, grittier sand pear hybrids - eat most of 'em firm and juicy, right off the tree, before they go soft and cloying.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2012 at 11:11PM
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Thanks for your responses, marknmt, olpea, scaper_austin, gator_rider2, and lucky_p. OK, I probably won't refrigerate any of my pears then in order to help them ripen. That's good, because my refrigerator has been packed with apples for weeks anyway, which I hope I'll be able to eat before they go bad. :)

    Bookmark   August 26, 2012 at 2:03AM
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I have my six surviving Honeysweet pears in the fridge, hoping they might improve. But I doubt they will, as they seemed overripe on picking.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2012 at 9:38AM
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One of the reasons I gravitate toward the cold storage method is that it gives such nice control over when your pear is ready to eat. You can store 20 pounds in poly bags and ripen them as needed, one, two, five at a time.

I suspect that one of the things that makes a given pear a favorite in any given area is that it's suited to the weather's timing in that area. Just as apricots might fail in area A because they tend to bloom in spring frost season, a pear might succeed because it reaches a given degree of ripeness just before fall frosts.

Of course, that was more likely back when you could kinda count on the weather to do certain things at certain time!

Anyhow, just thoughts.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2012 at 7:51PM
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Of course, that was more likely back when you could kinda count on the weather to do certain things at certain time!


    Bookmark   August 27, 2012 at 1:49AM
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