Considering a pear fruit as ripe is relative – it varies from person to person. One may think it ripe, others may not. But although the perception is something sort of personal, there are still a couple of guidelines which would help us determine if a pear is really ready to be picked or not.
Picking pears or any fruit is crucial. It is the final stage in cultivating fruit-bearing trees and vegetables. Pick them too soon and the fruit may not develop a full flavor — if they develop at all. Pick them too late and you might end up with a mushy pear that is not good for eating.
For commercial growers, they use a pressure tester to find out for sure if pears are mature enough to be harvested. The pressure needed to puncture the fruit’s flesh would let them know this. The less pressure needed to puncture it, the riper the pear is.
If you don’t have this kind of instrument at home, there are several “physical” indications which can help guide you.
Depending on the variety, pears are ready to be picked when they change from being hard to just being firm like, that of a softball. Some will change their color slightly – from green to light yellow.
European and Oriental hybrids do not ripen on the tree and will begin to drop even if they are still hard and harvest is delayed. Those that managed to stay on the tree will develop poor flavor and will break down on the core and develop a mushy texture.
These pear varieties ripen perfectly when they are off the tree. They can be ripened simply by putting them on the counter top at room temperature in a well-ventilated area. Ripening process should take between a week or two.
Unlike European pears, Asian pear varieties do not have to be picked and cured.
Another way of finding out if a pear fruit is ready is by doing a “lift test.” Simply lift the bottom part of the hanging fruit and gently lift it, twisting just a little. If the stem snaps off easily from the twig, it is ready to be harvested.
Wrenching and twisting pears off the tree indicate they are not ready to be picked. Take note that pears on the tope part of the tree ripen earlier than those in shaded areas.