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How to harvest and enjoy perfect pears?6 October 2017
Why are perfect pears usually so difficult to find?
Most people have never really eaten a juicy, aromatic, perfect pear. Ripe pears are easy to digest and for this reason, are often fed to babies as a first food. Most people's experience of eating a pear is a hard gritty, mushy, nasty, tasteless let down. Pears ripen from the inside out, so eat it too soon and it will be hard and leave it too long and it will be brown mush inside. Supermarkets have trouble storing and supplying pears, over 80% of which are now imported.
When is the harvest time of a perfect pair?
Many people who have pear trees in their garden struggle to know when they are ready to harvest in order get those perfect pears. In the UK, pears are ready to harvest from September through October, depending on the variety. Pears do not ripen on the tree so they will always be hard. Pears that are left too long on the tree will turn woody and grainy. When you can cup a pair and lift it up horizontally, if it comes away from the tree then it is ready to be picked.
Ripening perfect pears must be done indoors
Once the fruit has been picked, they can be placed in a fruit bowl and will be ready to eat in about a week. By placing the pears in a brown paper bag the ripening process can be speeded up. Bananas may be placed in the bowl as they give off a lot of ethylene gas which will speed up the ripening process of perfect pears. This can sometimes happen very quickly, so beware! When pears are ready to eat they should give slightly around the stem.
Perfect pears have been grown in Britain for hundreds of years
The Romans may have brought pears to England as they were enjoyed throughout the ancient world and prized in Greece for their aphrodisiac properties and dedicated to the goddess of love, Aphrodite. There is mention of pear trees in the Doomsday Book as land markers but they were not widely cultivated until varieties were brought over from France and Belgium in the 17th century. The National Fruit Collection lists 550 different varieties but over half of commercial pear orchards have disappeared over the past 30 years.
Here are some trees grown in the UK that will guarantee you perfect pears
- Beth Pear Trees will guarantee smaller than average perfect pears with a superior flavour and an early harvest.
- Concord Pear Trees are a relatively new variety that produce big juicy pears and are self-fertile, but benefit from a nearby pollinating partner tree.
- Winter Nelis Pear Trees are not the best looking pears but have a delicious sweet flavour and store well after they are harvested in October.
Local garden centres sell many varieties of perfect pear trees that thrive in the UK, with the right planting spot. Garden centre staff will be able to help and advise you as to which tree would work best in the conditions of your garden.