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Sep 27, 2008 09:50 AM

I am so discouraged!

We have a pear tree that is absolutely loaded but I can't get the pears to ripen. Everything that I read says not to let them ripen on the tree and we have tried every suggestion for ripening. We've had them on the counter, in a brown bag with a banana, in a brown bag with an apple. We've wrapped them in newspaper and put them in a box. We've put them in a cool,dark place. Nothing! I want to make pear butter but am lost.
Any suggestions please?

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  1. Take a pear to a nursery. They have experts that can help. They need the pear to id the type and then they can give you info on ripening. I would go to a local owned not big box nursery (Home Depot, Longs, Payless ).

    Also most counties have an agricultural dept. Call them for help.

    1. This sounds like a type of pear we had on our farm years ago, there were 7 Bartlett and a lone other variety. I assume for purposes of pollination. The lone tree seemed to be loaded every year, it produced a nicely shaped pear with a dark brownish russet like skin. It was very firm and crisp and an excellent keeper. They seemed to keep this texture, not softening like the Bartletts. My suggestion is to try a small batch of your recipe anyway. I made a pear mincemeat out of ours that was rather tasty.

      1 Reply
      1. I recall in my seminary days in Rome that some pears were stored for weeks before they ripened. Known as winter pears, we looked forward to them. So I Googled "ripening winter pears" and found something on the Oregon State Extension site. Let's hope I transcribe it accurately (I'm a bit dyslexic): Winter pears do take extra time, so if your pears are a winter variety, just need to be patient.

        5 Replies
        1. re: Father Kitchen

          See also Some pears need to be stored for an extended period at about 40 degrees and then ripened.

          1. re: Father Kitchen

            Many thanks to all of you for your suggestions. I willtry them all and post back with results.

            1. re: Hanky

              Just wanted to let you know what happened with my pears. I cooked them down(unripened), ran them through a foley food mill, put the resulting mush in the crockpot. I added cinnamon, nutmeg, and a little orange juice with just a small amount of sugar. I cooked it for a few hours, jarred, then processed it. It turned out to be an amazing pear butter. I did much the same with a plum tree that was loaded this year. I got 35 pints of each and gave about 20lbs. of each fruit to various friends and family.

              1. re: Hanky

                Just for information - there is a type of Asian pear that looks very similar to standard pears, but (as with most asian varieties) it needs to ripen on the tree.

          2. This may sound kind of dumb, but why don't you try letting them ripen on the tree and disregard what you read about that. I mean you've tried every other trick.

            2 Replies
            1. re: bw2082

              It could just be a type of pear that never gets soft but IS ripe. I think there are even pears that are not "Asian" pears that have this characteristic.

              1. re: oakjoan

                Or maybe it isn't a pear at all, but a quince.

            2. There's a traditional Spanish stew that uses under ripe pears, gypsy pot (olla gitana)
              Here's one of several online and print versions (e.g. New Spanish Table):

              The main ingredients are chickpeas, green beans, winter squash, and pears, along with usual Spanish background ingredients (onion, garlic, carrots, tomatoes, almonds).

              I've made it, though without the pears, so I can't say what they add. But the other ingredients do work together.

              2 Replies
                1. re: Father Kitchen

                  Thanks to all of you. I am filing the stew recipe for use next year.