Is it time to pick my pears

Asked July 1, 2020, 8:58 PM EDT

I'm not sure if they should grow a little more...they seem very hard ....can you advise me on this.

Cleveland County Oklahoma

1 Response

Determining harvest dates for pears is difficult and many things should be considered. Pears ripen from the inside out; therefore, if the outside is ready to eat, the inside will be mushy and over-ripe. Pears allowed to ripen on the tree develop stone or grit cells, or a mealy texture that makes the fruit less desirable. They must be harvested and allowed to ripen off the tree to develop properly.

Tree ripened fruits have shorter shelf and storage life. Fruits left on the tree too long will go quickly from slightly under-ripe to rotting.

For good flavor and texture, pears must be ripened after harvest. Completing the ripening process indoors reduces the development of stone cells and evens the ripening of interior and exterior flesh.

Harvest pears while they are still quite firm (hard) but the skin color, or 'ground color', has lightened to a pale green or greenish-yellow color. Ground color is the color of a pear's skin, disregarding any areas that have become red. Don't allow pears to become fully yellow on the tree before harvesting. Additional indications that pears are ready to harvest are when the fruit stem easily separates from the branch with an upward twist of the fruit and when the lenticels (spots on fruit surface), which are white or green on immature fruits, become brown.

Most pear cultivars can be easily removed from the tree when they are ready to harvest. Grasp a fruit, and tilt it to a horizontal or upward position to detach its stem from the tree. 'Bosc' pears, however, usually need to be clipped from the tree with pruners, even when they have reached maturity.

After harvest, pears should be held at 60 to 65 degrees F for 1 to 3 weeks, depending on the type of pear. During this time the pears will ripen and soften. High temperatures (75 degrees F and higher) after picking will cause the fruit to break down without ripening. After ripening, pears should be canned or preserved.