Is it time to harvest pears?

fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TXSeptember 2, 2012

Varieties I have and harvest dates recommended by Bay Laurel are: Bartlett mid August, Bosc mid Sept, Comice late Sept, Seckel August, Korean Giant none given. Am I too late on Barlett and Seckel? Too early on the others? Yellow Delicious apple is about a week from harvest.

Thank you for any input!!

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alan haigh

Seckel changes color before softening and can be picked and either ripened indoors at that point or kept in refrigeration for later use. Here it can ripen on the tree without rotting on the inside. Bartlett I find a bit trickier, but once it becomes edible and reasonably sweet as a hard pear it can be harvested- this is usually right when they turn from green to yellow here.

Bosc breaks cleanly from the calyx when ready and should follow your Seckel by about 3 weeks.

Korean Giant should ripen with Comice but you can pick them when they are perfectly ripe and they still keep for months in refrigeration.

Why not eat a Bartlett to see where they're at?

    Bookmark   September 2, 2012 at 10:40AM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

Thanks harvestman! I went out to check and my only two Bartlett had already fallen on the ground. They are still more green than yellow with a slight blush. The Seckel still look green to me but some are dropping so I picked a few.

I think I'll wait a while on the others. The Bosc seem firmly attached.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2012 at 12:35PM
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alan haigh

FN, it surpises me that the trees dropped the fruit before changing color. Maybe my experience in the northeast doesn't apply to your conditions.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2012 at 10:09PM
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riverman1

Good question fruitnut, today I was wondering same thing. I have a mature tree that is absolutely loaded with pears and they "look" ripe but are still kinda hard.

Not sure what variety they are.........today I tried one, crunchy like an apple but not bitter. I was told by the owner that lived here before me to pick them and bring them in to ripen but when I tried that last fall they never did seem to soften up. Tons of them on the tree, I need to figure out how to ripen them.

RM

    Bookmark   September 2, 2012 at 11:01PM
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alan haigh

Riverman, check and see how dark the seeds are. They should be dark brown when ripe. This year don't put all your eggs in one basket and don't harvest all the pears at once. I have to learn from experience how to pick each variety but most do break clean at the calyx when ripe enough to pick.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2012 at 7:11AM
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blue72

Can we see some of your trees.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2012 at 11:22AM
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franktank232(z5 WI)

Might pick all my Seckels today...the squirrels have found them...

    Bookmark   September 3, 2012 at 11:32AM
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riverman1

Blue......here is a few pictures I took of my tree this morning. I live in Eastern Washington State. The tree is loaded with pears every single year. Last winter I cut about half the tree off because it was just too much fruit to deal with.

Cut one open, picture of the seeds:

    Bookmark   September 3, 2012 at 12:48PM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

riverman:

Those look like Bosc. Do you think they are ready for harvest? The seeds look pretty dark. Mine is Golden Russet Bosc so it is a darker russet. But the shape is the same.

How do you ripen them? I was thinking some cold storage followed by room temperature.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2012 at 12:53PM
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riverman1

I don't know how to ripen them fruitnut........I'm totally clueless on this subject. Do you have any suggestions? They are crunchy now but already a little sweet. I don't think it would take much to soften/ripen them up if I knew what to do.

RM

    Bookmark   September 3, 2012 at 1:00PM
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franktank232(z5 WI)

With Seckels I refrigerate for a couple weeks and then take out a few at a time and ripen at room temp...seems to work.

I knocked off my one and only Harrow Sweet today...Doubt if it was ready to pick, but too late now.

River=
Those look like Bosc to me... Seems like they wouldn't be ready yet? Aren't Bosc a later ripening pear?

    Bookmark   September 3, 2012 at 1:06PM
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riverman1

Found at this link:

http://extension.oregonstate.edu/gardening/node/413

Sugar recommends ripening pears at 65 to 75 degrees F for the following times: Bartlett, 4 to 5 days, Bosc and Comice, 5 to 7 days; and Anjou, 7 to 10 days.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2012 at 1:56PM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

riverman:

Nice link. The link also says that the pears need a period of chilling prior to ripening at room temperature. The cold storage needed is only a few days for Bartlett and 2-6 weeks for winter pears like Bosc and Comice.

The article also says pears are better picked a little too green than too mature. He suggests that if the pear detaches easily when bent sideways it's ready to pick.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2012 at 2:27PM
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alan haigh

Those are shaped like Bosc, but not russetted enough. The seeds indicate they are ripe to me. If they don't ripen into delicious fruit at this point, it's possible it is a seedling tree.

Here, Bosc will ripen on the tree without rotting in the center. Comice type pears are more likely to rot in the center when left on the tree too long.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2012 at 6:07PM
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ltilton

I posted earlier about my confusion with my Honeysweet that seemed to be prematurely overripe on the tree. Nope. I put them into the refrigerator for a couple of weeks, then out on the counter with the bananas.

Perfect. Sweet, juicy, delicious little things!

I guess I picked them at the right time by accident. Next year, I'm sure they'll be later.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2012 at 7:25PM
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glib(5.5)

I thought these pears were Abbot or something like that. I googled it and the Italian pere Abbate came up. Look them up, they look very similar. I actually ate them a few times, they are picked quite hard and it takes a long time to ripen (I don't know how long and which temp though).

    Bookmark   September 3, 2012 at 8:46PM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA(10b Sunset 23)

Riverman, whatever pear tree that is, is is absolutely beautiful. My gosh. It doesn't even look real. How very, very lovely!! I hope you can work out picking and curing in the refridge, as those look to be some very nice pears. I have exactly ONE pear on my 17 new pear trees this season. Some trees are on year 2, most still on year 1, but my little Seckel, which is in it's second year (and is partially self-fertile), gave me one very pretty pear. Waiting to pick in about 2 to 3 weeks, I think. A little late for my area, but since it is still a very young tree, timing is going to be off.

Patty S.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2012 at 8:49PM
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franktank232(z5 WI)

Here is a Seckel and a Harrow Sweet...

    Bookmark   September 3, 2012 at 9:30PM
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alan haigh

Frank, Harrow Sweet ripens almost a month later than Seckel and Bartlett here. I wasted a lot of my first big crop of HS by picking too early -first fruit was edible later fruit incredible. I notice both of those stems broke off at the wrong point- the right point being what I mistakenly referred to as the calyx previously, but at the point of natural separation of the stem from the tree (maybe someone can help me with the proper word). I believe both those varieties are at top picking quality when they make a clean break when twisted and pulled fairly gently. At least the majority of the harvest should be breaking free this way.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2012 at 6:54AM
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ltilton

Abscission point?

Apples separate at that point naturally, but my limited experience with pears is that the stems break like Frank's Seckel. Even the ones that drop of their own accord.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2012 at 10:53AM
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alan haigh

Abscission point sounds good to me although not familiar, for some reason, but memory is no longer my strong suit. In my experience, the pears are ready when a sizable percentage do break off this way but local weather may affect this. I do think some experimentation is a good idea and its best not to harvest all pears at once until you are sure what you're doing. Also, if seeds are as dark as the ones in the photo above I think you could pretty much assume the fruit is ripe.

For me, Seckel is very easy to know when it's truly ripe because of the distinctive change of color when ripe. If you leave Seckel pears on the tree after this point they will soften nicely on the tree and be ready to eat but not keep well in storage.

I'm not sure, but the pictured seckel doesn't look mature to me. Seckel has so much sugar, though, that even pears picked early will be sweet enough- just not amazing. Probably store for longer though. Mine only last in the fridge for about 40 days.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2012 at 11:51AM
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ltilton

Harvestman - do you have experience with Honeysweet? I'm going by what I know of Seckels with mine, which isn't all that much. It really has me going in circles.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2012 at 12:31PM
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riverman1

Thanks Patty for the kind words. Here it's very easy to grow a good fruit tree, put it in the ground and water when it dries out, that's it. We have some of the world's largest orchards growing in this valley........things just grow here.

RM

    Bookmark   September 4, 2012 at 11:27PM
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alan haigh

I have experience with Harrow Sweet and endorse it as one of the best home orchard pears. It ripens pretty late and stores well when picked firm. Here in the northeast it is a struggle to get the sugar up in many varieties- especially without dawn to dusk sun but Harrow Sweet is true to its name and is sweet and delicious. It is also scab and psyla resistant which becomes crucial once these pests make their appearance at any given site. It is also fire blight resistant.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2012 at 7:27AM
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olpea(zone 6 KS)

Agree with the comments about Harrow Sweet. It's not a large pear, but has very good flavor. Mine also ripen about a month after Bartlett and are ready to harvest now.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2012 at 7:55PM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

I keep checking my Bosc and Comice by lifting the fruit sideways to see if it snaps off properly. They continue to break off mid stem rather than at the end of the stem where the abscission zone forms. I'm going to harvest half soon even if this continues.

Is anyone harvesting Olympic yet?

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 9:51AM
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franktank232(z5 WI)

I ate a few Seckel pears that were soft while still on the tree..i picked the rest. We had a freeze Sunday morning (31F)...

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 10:06AM
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mamuang_gw

Hi Fruitnut,

Last year I harvested Korean Giant aka Olympics around the 2nd week of Oct. This year, I harvested them now for two reasons: everything seems to ripe early this year and to avoid losing them to, I suspect, a groundhog.

I lost 6 very large pear to some animal 3 days ago. I suspect it's a groundhog becuase my Olympics this year are humongous. The biggest one so far is 1.64 lbs. Others are about a pound or more, too. I don't think squirrels can carry them away. The taste is as good as last year. I still have 4-5 on the tree. I am in MA.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 5:57PM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

mamuang:

Sure the thief isn't a racoon? That's what is nipping at mine and part of the reason why I'm thinking about harvest. But according to what was discussed above mine apparently aren't ripe yet.

Those are humongous Olympic alright!!! Mine are a pound at most. Big enough for me.

Frank:

I'll get out one of my few Seckel and see if I can ripen it a few days. I've never had a good one. Now would be a good time!!

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 7:03PM
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mamuang_gw

Fruitnut,

I've never seen racoon around my yard (yet). I hope it's not raconn!!! I don't need one more pest to give me a headache. We have a resident groundhog who eats many of my plants and I saw it climb up my pear trees before.

Last year, I left too many pears on my Olympic so the size was about an apple. This year, I had only 30 of them total after thinning. I did not expect them to grow so huge!!! Unfortanately, by the time I got to pick them, there were about 10 left!! I took a few pictures but have not learned how to post them yet.

Hope you have a chance to pick yours before racoon get them.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 7:36PM
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