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Pears

Pears

Asian & European Pear Trees

Fresh, dried or canned, pears provide versatile appeal for the home orchardist. European pears are buttery, soft and sweet when fully ripe. A nice contrast in character are Asian pears which are crunchy like apples, but mouth watering in a uniquely flavored juice.

 

Asian Pears - Pyrus pyrifolia

These pears are well suited to hot climates, and are handsome espaliered.  They have been called the apple pear, but in spite of the fact that they are crisp when ripe, their texture and flavor is different from apples.  They are juicy and crisp, usually with a milder flavor.  Unlike European pears, they should be allowed to ripen on the tree.  Most varieties will bear some fruit by themselves, but yield will increase with a pollinizer.  They need slightly less chill than European pears.

 

European Pears - Pyrus communis

Perhaps a quote from Edward Bunyard's Anatomy of Dessert will give a hint: "The pear must be approached, as its feminine nature indicates, with discretion and reverence; it withholds its secrets from the merely hungry." While European pears are more popular, there is growing appreciation of Asian pears. When to pick? European pears are ready to pick when the stem separates easily as the pears are tipped up from the branch. They should then be ripened in a cool, dark place. Asian pears are ready to harvest fresh off the tree. Pears have a lower chilling requirement than apples, about 600 hours, with Comice and Seckel needing less. All European pears are better picked a little green and ripened off the tree.


Harvest Tips:   Unlike apples, most pear varieties do not ripen nicely while still on the tree since pears ripen from the inside out and, by the time they seem to be at the ripe stage, they are beyond it — usually mushy with a mealy texture beneath the skin.When determining the maturity of a pear, you should consider its size and shape. On the branch is such look like a ripe pear before harvesting. It should still feel very hard to firm and its when its color yellows slightly, it’s ready to pick. When pulling the fruit off the branch, pears when “tilted” to a horizontal position should twist off easily (Bosc is the exception where they are always difficult to twist off from the spur).  After harvest, pears should be wrapped in paper, place in a single layer to ensure no bruising and cooled for a couple of weeks at least. To ripen them, bring the temperature up to 65 to 75 degrees. They should ripen in four to five days for Bartlett, 5-7 days for Bosc and Comice. To test if the pear is ripe, Hold the pear gently but firmly in the palm of your hand and apply the thumb of that same hand to the pear flesh just below the point where the stem joins the fruit. When the flesh beneath your thumb yields evenly to gentle pressure, it is time to eat your pear. If you have to push more than slightly, it is not ready yet.  Pears are consumed fresh, canned, as juice, and dried. The juice can also be used in jellies and jams, usually in combination with other fruits, including berries. Fermented pear juice is called perry or pear cider and is made in a way that is similar to how cider is made from apples.  Asian pears on the contrary should ripen on the tree. They need no after-ripening storage period. Asian pears are ready for harvest when they come away easily from the spur or branch when they are lifted and twisted slightly. When Asian pear’s green skin color starts to change to yellow, they're ripe. Asian pears are eaten fresh as the fruit is crunchy, juicy and not overly sweet. Asian pears are very high in fiber, potassium, Vitamin K, copper and Vitamin C.