Friday, December 2, 2011

Harvesting Comice Pears

Comice pears become soft and sweet after harvesting.

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Comice pears, a winter variety, shouldn't be allowed to ripen on the vine because they tend to get mushy. These pears require a proper cold storage treatment to develop their best texture and full sweetness. Comice pears develop a yellow-gold skin with a red blush, and are one of the larger and sweeter varieties of winter pear. Plucking the pears at the right time and in the right way ensures they develop their full flavor during the storage period.

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Check for maturity beginning in mid-fall, depending on the area of the country you are in. The pears typically are ready to harvest in late September or early October. Mature Comice pears develop a red blush as they approach harvest time.


Grasp a pear by its bottom. Lift the pear toward the branch and twist lightly. The pear separates easily from the branch if it's ready to harvest. Check multiple pears and harvest all of them if most separate easily.


Stack the pears in a single layer in a shallow box. Use a box with holes in the sides to allow air to circulate.


Store the boxes in a location that's 32 to 45 degrees Fahrenheit. Stack multiple boxes crosswise so air can enter the top of the boxes at the bottom of the stack.


Keep the pears in cold storage for two to four weeks. Check for ripeness weekly by pressing lightly against the top of the pear near the stem. The pears are ready to eat when this area feels soft.

Tips & Warnings

Use a refrigerator or root cellar to maintain the cool temperatures during ripening.

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ReferencesOregon State Extension: When to Pick and How to Ripen Pears to PerfectionWashington State Extension: When to Pick PearsPhoto Credit Hemera Technologies/ ImagesRead Next:

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