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Vijai Pandian column: When and how to harvest pears

1:03 PM, Aug. 29, 2013  |  Comments
Vijai Pandian explains some easy ways to tell if pears are ready for harvest.
Vijai Pandian explains some easy ways to tell if pears are ready for harvest.
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Pears should be harvested before they are fully ripened. If not, the fruit tends to be gritty, soft and lacking in shelf life.

Common pear varieties, such as Bartlett, tend to mature about 122-125 days from full bloom. The following signs indicate when pears are ready for harvest:

? Fruit skin changes in pigment color to light green or slightly yellowish green.

? White spots (lenticels) on the fruit skin change to brown.

? Fruit skin becomes smooth and waxy.

Make a gentle upward twist to the fruit and if it separates easily from the twig, then the fruit is at the right stage of its maturity.

After the pears are harvested, store only good quality mature fruit that are non-bruised or diseased. Place the fruit in a plastic bag that contains small perforated holes.

For short-term storage, pears should be kept below 40 degrees for about five weeks. For long term storage, they can be kept at 32-34 degrees with a relative humidity of 85 percent or above. Don't freeze the pear fruit, and don't store them along with onions or other vegetables.

When you consume the fruit, remove it from the storage unit and allow the fruit to ripen for 3-4 days at normal room temperature. When the fruit ripens, it becomes soft and the skin changes color to golden yellow. You will feel the softness of the flesh when you apply gentle pressure with your thumb at the stem end.

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