We love our fruit orchard. We inherited it when we purchased this farm several years ago. There are apple trees, nut trees, pear and peach trees, grapes, black raspberries, blackberries and blueberries. So, we have had to learn alot about fruit and we are continuing to learn all the time.
it is that time of year here in the south – East Tennessee – to harvest pears. So, we thought we would blog about how to harvest them and what to do with them.
STEP ONE – When To Harvest From Pear Tree
First, it is important to know that most pears to NOT ripen on the tree like other fruit do. If they do, you will get that thick mealy affect that no one likes.
Pears need to be harvested from the tree and stored in 65 to 75 degree temperature from a period of four to ten days depending on the type of pear.
To know when to harvest the pear from the tree itself, simply take the pear that is currently hanging down vertically and bend it sideways. If the pear naturally breaks at the stem, it is time to harvest.
Some of you may notice a brownish, corky or netlike texture that appears on many pear varieties. It ranges in coverage from a small patch, typically near the top of the fruit, to most of the fruit’s surface, the latter being less common. This is called Russeting. Russeting is natural and does not harm the quality or taste of the fruit. Russeting is commonly due to weather conditions like moisture that develops on the fruit as it grows, with additional factors such as a late frost and/or humidity also playing a role. The russeted patches are not only edible, but they tend to have a delicious nutty flavor.
STEP TWO – How To Harvest The Pears
You want to really careful when harvesting your pears, both in terms of the climb to reach them and the handling of them so they do not bruise. What we do is we use a ladder on the ground first to get low hanging pears. Then we use our ATV with a ladder on top. My husband climbs up and picks a few pears at a time and hands them to me. I immediately put them in baskets gently to assure they do not bruise. We then proceed to immediately take them into a cool place to begin their ripening process.
STEP THREE – The Ripening Process Post Harvest
Pears produce ethylene gas, a ripening hormone, inside the fruit which speeds up ripening. You can kick start the ripening process by putting freshly bought or newly harvested pears in a paper bag with a ripe banana or an apple, both of which give off high quantities of ethylene gas. The bag keeps the gas near the pears, which soak it up and quickly begin producing their own.
To know when you can use the pear – for pear sauce or fresh eating simply apply pressure from the thumb to the pear flesh just below where the stem joins the fruit. When the pear yields evenly to gentle pressure, it is time to eat the pear. If you have to push more than slightly, the pear is still not ready to consume.
STEP THREE – How To Use Your Batch Of Ripened Pears
Here are many of the things you can make with your pears –
- Pears poached in red wine
- Pear applesauce
- Pear tarts on puff pastry
- Pear nectar
- Pear spice cake
- Pear butter
- Pear sorbet
- Ginger pear upside down cake
- Pear cidar
- Pear jam
- Pickled pears
- Chocolate dipped pears
- Serve on the side with pork tenderloin
- Grilled pear salad
- Pear pie
What we usually do with our pears is make pear sauce. We absolutely love it. Here is how we make it.
Pear sauce (like applesauce but with pears) is fabulous. Peel the pears and slice them up into 1 inch pieces, add to a pot and then pour in a little bit of water to help the pears break down. Simmer until the pears are soft, then mash them up with a potato masher. You can add some pieces of crushed fresh ginger to the pot, and there will be a very subtle ginger flavor in the final product. You could also add some fresh vanilla bean, cinnamon stick, or other warm, aromatic spices that you like.
We then proceed to can the pear sauce to last us throughout the winter.
We hope this helps you learn more about pears and how to make them the best pears you have ever had!
God Bless! L. Davis