We’ve posted before about timing harvest of pears and apples, how to tell when they are ripe, when to pick, and how to store. As summer ends and fall begins, we are ramping up the harvest of pears and apples at Cloud Mountain.
Every year, we are asked how to tell if pears are ready to pick. European pears ripen from the core out to the skin, and if you wait until the pears are yellow and slightly soft to touch, they are rotten and overripe at the core. How to tell?
Clues to look for:
- Have a couple of pears dropped? Probably time to test by picking a couple.
- Has the skin color shifted from really green towards yellow?
- Can you lift a pear and have the stem cleanly break from the spur? Time to pick!
Early ripening European pears, including Ubileen, Red Clapps, Bartlett, are probably ready now, if not past. If you have one of these varieties, go out and check it! Rescue and Orcas will probably be ripe in a soon- look at them now so you don’t miss the harvest window.
All of these early pears are great for eating, canning, drying, and preserves. They will only store a couple of weeks in refrigeration.
One of our favorite pear preserves recipe:
9 cups peeled, cubed pears (about 2 ½ lbs)
2 thinly sliced, seeded lemons
6 cups sugar
1/3 cup chopped fresh ginger
Combine pears, lemons, ginger and sugar and let stand in refrigerator at least 12 hours or
overnight. The next day, bring the mixture to a boil, uncovered, over high heat. Reduce
heat and simmer until thick (1 to 1 ½ hours), stirring occasionally. Ladle into sterilized
jars, seal, and process 10 minutes in a boiling water bath. Makes 6-8 8 oz. jars.