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Q

How do I know when it is time to pick my pear tree?

Answer(s)

A

The fruit can be ripened on the tree, but for better quality,
they are best picked early and allowed to ripen indoors. A few guidelines to
use in determining whether pears are ready to be picked include: healthy
fruits begin to drop; there is a change in fruit color from green to yellow;
and the stem separates easily from the branch. To pick pears, grasp the
fruit firmly and twist or roll it to make the stem separate from the tree.
Give the pears the "lift test." Put your index finger on the stem, lift the
pear from the normal vertical orientation to a horizontal or flat position,
perhaps with a slight twist. If the fruit "snaps" off cleanly between the
stem and the twig, the pears are ready to strip from the tree. If you have
to wrench off the fruit either breaking the twig or the fruit stem, the
fruit is probably not ready. On larger trees, fruit growing in the top often
ripens earlier than fruit in the shaded interior.

If pears are picked before they are fully ripe, they should be ripened at a
temperature of 60° to 70°F. This will result in optimum quality and
smoothness of flesh. If you want to keep pears for a longer period of time,
store the freshly picked fruit in the refrigerator.

Posted on 9 Aug 2007

Maggie Shao
Horticulture Agent, Salt Lake County

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