Pears do not ripen well on trees. They are harvested when they are mature but unripe and need to be ripened after harvest. Bartlett pears change from green to yellow as they ripen. Non-Bartlett pears (Anjou, Bosc, Comice, Concorde, Seckel and Forelle) do not dramatically change color as they ripen. Because pears ripen from the inside out, the best way to check for ripeness is to "check the neck.” Gently press near the stem with your thumb. When it gives to gentle pressure it is ripe, juicy, and ready to eat. If you wait until the pear is soft around the middle, it will be overripe.
Pears need to ripen at room temperature, so leave them on the kitchen counter or dining room table to enjoy their beauty as they ripen. Placing pears in a paper bag will help them ripen faster. Be sure to check daily so they don't get overripe. Add apples or bananas to speed up the process. All ripening fruit give off ethylene, so more ethylene in the air around the pear will help speed ripening.
Ripened pears can be utilized right away or refrigerated to slow further ripening. As they ripen, pears can be arranged in a fruit bowl for display.
We don't recommend freezing fresh pears that have not been processed. The juice and fibers will separate in the thawing process, and the results are not at all desired. However, freezing a cooked or processed pear (such as pear sauce) to which sugar has been added will work. Pear pie fillings can also be pre-baked and frozen. Make sure the pears are in a tightly sealed container prior to freezing to help reduce freezer burn and the growth of microorganisms.
Wash and peel pears. Cut in halves and remove cores. Slice, if desired. To prevent discoloration, keep pears in an ascorbic acid solution (a solution of 3 grams (3,000 milligrams) ascorbic acid to 1 gallon of cold water). Prepare a very light, light, or medium syrup or pack pears in apple juice, white grape juice, or water.
1. Leave firm, unripe pears at room temperature to ripen.
2. Check the neck for ripeness daily, by applying gentle pressure to the neck, or stem end, of the pear with your thumb. If it yields to pressure, then it’s ripe and ready to eat!
3. Once the pear is ripe, it can be refrigerated to slow the ripening process and saved for use up to five days later.