Did you know that pears ripen the best when are off the tree? If they ripen on the tree they get mushy in the center by the time they are ripe enough to eat! So that is why that pear you just bought is hard and doesn’t seem ready to eat at all! That is because it isn’t. And it has nothing to do with keeping them unripe while they make their journey to your grocery store.
So what do you do to ripen your pears perfectly? First of all if your pick your pears right off your tree (Like I did) you must chill it in the refrigerator first. For Bartlett a day or two will suffice. Bosc and Anjou need longer periods of chilling. Grocery store pears have already had their chilling period. After they chill out Bartlett pears will need 4-5 days to ripen at between 65-75 degrees and up to two weeks for Bosc and Anjou. I do it on my kitchen counter. The ethylene gas they produce speeds up the ripening. You can speed up this process even more by putting your pears in a paper bag with another ethylene producing fruit such as bananas or apples, which will concentrate this ripening hormone.
So how do you tell when your pears are ready? You simply hold the pear in the palm of your hand and push slightly at the stem end of the fruit. If it gives evenly, it’s ready to eat. If you have to push harder than slightly, you must wait a bit longer to enjoy it’s juicy goodness.