Through fun and informative articles, the “Power of Fruit” series spotlights a fruit’s origins, shares recipes, offers seasonal guides and instructional videos, and emphasizes sustainability practices of the farms who grow them.
It’s no secret that we love pears at Harry & David. This sweet, juicy, and delectable fruit is where our roots are planted, and after 80 years of hand-picking and hand-packing millions, it’s probably safe to say that we know a few tips and tricks on how to ripen pears.
1. Cold storage
Unlike many other tree-borne fruits, pears ripen after being picked and not while on the tree. Best stored in a cool, dry place, the ripening stage is fairly narrow, leaving little room for error as they can spoil within a matter of hours. Once harvested, growers will generally take care of the chilling process for you. So, when you purchase your favorite Royal Riviera® Pears from Harry & David, you can rest assured they’re ready to enjoy.
Not all pears ripen at the same speed, so know your pears. While Bartlett Pears should be chilled at 30°F degrees for two to three days, Comice or Bosc Pears should be chilled for two to six weeks. Important tip: Remove any spoiled fruit during the chilling process, as one spoiled pear can turn a whole batch bad.
3. Ripening temperatures
Once your pears have been stored for the appropriate amount of time, they’ll ripen best between 65° and 75° F. According to the Oregon State University Extension, Bartlett Pears ripen in four to five days, while Bosc and Comice pears need five to seven days to reach peak ripeness. Given that this is simply a guide and not a law, the best way to detect whether or not your pear is ready to eat is the thumb test.
4. The thumb test
Check the neck of your pear daily for ripeness by applying gentle pressure to the neck or stem-end of the pear with your thumb. If the pear yields to pressure, it’s ready to eat!
5. The banana trick
A trick of the trade to hasten the ripening process with pears is to place it in a paper bag or enclosed area with a banana or ripe apple. Ripe apples and bananas give off a gas called ethylene that triggers the ripening process in unripe pears.
6. Put your pears together
Ripe pears also give off ethylene gas, so by storing all of your pears together in a sack or bucket the already ripe pears will encourage the rest to do the same. As each fruit starts to ripen, it triggers the rest of the batch.
7. Slow it down
If you’re not quite ready to enjoy your pears, you can easily slow down the ripening process by storing them in the refrigerator.
8. Never waste a pear
Overripe pears are still viable in the kitchen and can still be just as tasty with the help of a few pear recipes. Just peel and chop your overripe pears and you have the perfect beginning to a pear pie, cake, smoothie, and other fresh delights. These coveted fruits are certainly our favorite. Since 1934, it’s been our privilege to deliver so many sweet and juicy handpicked pears to your door.