Pear Facts

It is estimated that there are as many as 3,000 different varieties of pears, with some research numbers as high as 5,000. Almost all varieties love the Rogue Valley with its hot days and cold nights. Bartlett is one of the very few varieties not of French origin. The Bartlett is a product of England (called Williams by Europeans) and has become the most popular in the world for canning and snacks. Bartletts are noted for their delicate skin and their soft, melting, sweet flesh. Unlike many other varieties the Bartlett changes color to yellow as it ripens.

All pears should be picked green--except Asians. If the farmer waits too long to pick, the harvested fruit begins to ripen from the inside, making them mushy and difficult to handle. Bartletts can also be processed without refrigeration, unlike “winter pears” such as Bosc, Anjou and Comice. Winter pears must be refrigerated for two to four weeks prior to marketing. These varieties require longer cooling to mimic the change of seasons which triggers the ripening process.

Ripening or "When are they ready?"

Though pears are closely related to apples, unlike apples, they taste better with age.  One might compare Bartlett pears to bananas.  Eaten green they are firm but lack sweetness.  Eaten yellow (like bananas) the natural sugars have a chance to mature the fruit.  However, it is matter of preference.  My wife likes her bananas green with just a tinge of yellow.  I, on the other hand, like mine sweeter with a few brown spots on the skin.  It is all a matter of personal taste (color preference).  

Your options are:

1. leave your pears in the delivery box and after a week remove the lid to discover half are rotten.  The first sign of leaving the pears in the box to ripen is the number of fruit flies.  (Ugh!)  

2. Remove the pears from the box and place them loose in the refrigerator. Once removed from refrigeration they will all mature within a few days.  Many extend their enjoyment by removing a few from the refrigerator each day.  Within a few days the first ones will be ready, etc.  Under conditions cold enough, o
ur pears have been recorded to last until early December.  Because of the high sugar content of Rouge Valley pears, our Bartletts can be held at 31-degrees without freezing.  

3. A quick way to “get it over with” is to spread the pears out on a large table (piece of plywood on sawhorses, or cardboard on the garage floor) and cover them all under one bed sheet or quilt (layered newspapers also works well). The gases generated by the first maturing pears encourage the others to quickly follow suit.

"Check the Neck"  How can one tell how ripe the pear is?  Check the neck.  the thumb and forefinger pressed on the neck of the pear tells the tale.  The more the flesh gives under pressure, the riper the pear.