When Do You Pick Pears?

Most pears tend to be ready to be picked around late-summer or into the fall though that can depend on the specific variety.

When Do You Pick Pears

Consider the climate where you are too as that can have an effect on how quickly they mature. The further north you live, the later you can expect the fruit to mature and then be picked.

The best way to check that pears are ready to be picked is simply to hold them and see how easily they come away. 

In this guide, we will ask; when do you pick pears? We will also look at how to pick pears and how to ripen a pear.

When Do You Pick Pears?

The usual time to pick pears is as summer is coming to an end though that can vary depending on the climate and variety. With early varieties and late-blooming ones, the picking time could be a full month apart.

As pears tend to overdevelop on the plant, you should pick them once they mature and become firm. That’s unless you like your pears to be overly mushy and exceedingly sweet.

The best signs to look out for include when the skin has become blushed but the flesh remains firm. That should mean that the pear is under-ripe and it is high time that they were picked.

Pick all the pears that match that criterion and carefully place them in a paper bag so they can ripen for around a week on the countertop.

Even once you have picked the pears, each one should be checked individually. 

After a full week or a few days on the countertop, that delicious flavor should arrive as the flesh reaches its ideal texture. Keep an eye on them as each pear can reach your desired ripeness at a different time.

This can be down to environmental factors or simply the time you actually pick them off the tree. Be patient and check them regularly then eat them when the time is right.

How To Pick Pears

When a pear looks full and heavy, it is likely time to pick it and we will explain why below. Simply cup the pear in your hand and then tilt it horizontally.

As long as it has matured sufficiently, the pear should break from the stem quite easily.

The pears that need a tug and resist coming off the stem should be left alone. Give them time on the branch as they will need a bit longer to mature.

Trying to pick the pears by hand is the best way of checking their maturity. Be wary that the color and texture can differ based on the variety so these are not ideal indications of maturity.

Check if a few pears are ready to be picked as some may be ready quicker than others. Those really young pears will fail to produce the right amount of sugars once they are picked.

Once they leave the branch, they could turn out to be a little tart and too firm. 

How To Ripen A Pear

While an apple will come away easily in your hand when it has ripened, it is harder to tell with a pear. That’s largely because pears typically ripen from the inside.

Should you leave them on the tree, the interior could have turned to mush already. The best way to ripen pears is to pick them when they reach maturity but may not be fully ripened.

They may still feel a little bit hard and the flesh has yet to soften. Place the pears in a paper bag on the countertop and let them ripen at room temperature.

After a few days, the pears should have ripened so check them every day to ensure they meet your desired softness. 

There is a more involved method of ripening pears and it does require some equipment. Once your pears have reached maturity, place them in a basket lined with dish towels.

This should prevent them from bruising and act as a cushion. Bring the basket indoors and store the pears at 30°F (-1°C) as the cooling will enhance how the pears ripen.

Some pear varieties, such as Bartletts, only require 24 to 48 hours of cooling. Other varieties may do really well with between two and six weeks of cooling.

After that period, you can force-ripen the pears by leaving them on the countertop. 

The temperature should be between 18 and 23°C though you could leave them with a banana or apple in a paper bag. These fruits release ethylene gas which will encourage the ripening of your pears. 

Final Thoughts

Not many fruits are ideally picked when they are still not quite ripe but that’s the case with pears.

Their harvest times can vary depending on the variety. Indeed, you could see a difference of a full month between an early variety and a late-blooming one.

Whichever variety it is, pick them while they are still firm and allow them to ripen indoors on the countertop. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do You Determine The Maturity Of A Pear?

There are subtle changes to look out for as a pear matures yet there are four telltale signs. The first is that its size and shape both look full and mature.

The pear’s color will alter and become more yellow while it should twist off easily. There is also the feel which should change from very hard to just firm.

What Happens If You Pick Pears Before They Have Fully Matured?

Should you pick the pears too early before they have matured, they may never be as appetizing as you want. Pears require time on the branch to take in all the necessary sugars.

You can tell when a pear has been picked too early as it fails to taste right. The pears will typically shrivel when left in storage too instead of ripening properly.

Valentina Hernandez
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