How do you Know When to Pick Pears
This has been the first year my trees have produced a significant amount of pears. It’s been really nice to pick an Asian pear and eat it right off the tree. I’ve had plenty of pears from the store, but there is nothing like a fresh pear right off your own tree. As my pears were ripening, I started to wonder how exactly do you know when to pick them? It sounds like a simple question, but there is a little more to it than you might think.
First you need to know what type of pear tree you have. Is it a European pear tree, or an Asian pear? Most pears are going to be of the European variety. These are the pears we are most familiar with, such as Bosc, Bartlett, or Anjou. These pears have the classic pear shape. Your Asian pears are much more round like an apple.
European pears are NOT picked when ripe. Ideally, they are picked a few weeks before ripening and stored in a cool dark place, like a root cellar or basement to finish ripening. Pears have a gritty texture that is caused by their stone cells. If they are picked and allowed to ripen this way, it makes for a softer pear. Also, if you leave the pears on the tree to ripen, they will be attacked by birds and insects.
There are a couple of ways to tell when European pears are ready to be picked.
1. Pull one off the tree, if it separates easily from the tree, then it is ready, if not then it needs more time. Actually, twist the pear, when trying to get a pear off the tree. You should not just pull them, as that can break off branches and leaves.
2. If healthy pears start to drop off the tree, then the rest of them are ready.
3. The pears should still be hard, but there should be some give in the flesh. If they are still solid and hard with no give, then they are not ready, but if they have some give, then they are ready.
Asian pears should be handled a bit differently. These pears should be allowed to ripen on the tree. They should be picked ripe off the tree. You can tell if Asian pears are ready to pick by:
1. Does it come easily off the tree? If so, they are probably ready.
2. Take one off the tree and try it. If it tastes ripe, then it is.
3. I have noticed on my own trees that when the brown outer skin starts to get some green to it, then they are ready. This has allowed me to pick individual pears as they ripen.