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How to Ripen Asian Pears

Asian pear image by David Smith from

Asian pears taste like a cross between an apple and pear and differ in their harvesting from European pears. According to Clemson University, Asian pears ripen fully on the tree before harvesting, unlike European pears, which are picked green and ripened at room temperature. The Centers for Disease Control's Fruit and Veggies Matter page notes that Asian pears have a firm texture when fully ripe and do not soften like European pears. For those who pick Asian pears when they're still hard, Purdue University notes that the fruit will soften after two weeks when stored at 70 degrees F.

Wait for the Asian pears to ripen fully on the tree by looking for a change in color, from green to either yellow or brown. Check for maturity by gently twisting a fruit. Taste any Asian pears that easily separate from the branch when twisted.

Harvest the rest of the fruit from the tree when the Asian pear tastes sweet and juicy. Purdue University notes that most growers use the color and sweetness of the fruit to determine when it's ready for harvest.

Soften (ripen) the Asian pears by storing them at room temperature for two weeks or in a paper or plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to four weeks.

Discard any spongy-textured Asian pears or those with shriveled or wrinkled skin.

Ripen Pears Off The Tree

Pears benefit from a period of chilling right after harvest. When harvesting Comice or Bosc pears, the chill period should be extended to two to six weeks. The days indicated for ripening are a guide but not law. When it's slightly soft, the fruit is ripe. Putting a banana or a ripe apple in with other fruit helps speed up the ripening process. As each fruit starts to ripen and give off the ethylene gas, it triggers the rest of the batch. A big harvest can leave you with more pears than you can use, even if you spend weeks canning, freezing and preserving. A good way to store pears into winter is to start the chill period as soon as the fruit comes off the tree. You can store pears between 32 and 35 degrees F for up to four months.

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