Posted: 21/10/2014 at 09:38
You will see from my last post that I picked my conference pears back on the 23 September.
i duly wrapped them individually in newspaper and left them in the dark in an empty drawer.
Their condition was perfect when they came off the tree: 30 - 40 good sized, firm, unripe but unblemished pears - a great harvest for the second year of fruiting. (the tree was planted in about 2010)
Unfortunately they ripened off the tree much quicker than anticipated. I guess the drawer was not in a cool enough place to slow the process down so I lost several within the first week. Some had actually turned to mush within a week...
It seems that pears ripen from the inside out - which is therefore how they rot too! That is why they still feel hard outside when they are in fact ready to eat: with those I caught just before they started to rot - as the inside is only just turning pink - the flavour was astounding, far better than any shop-bought I've tasted.
What I think I should have done - not having a proper 'cold room' for storage - is to have taken them off the tree about 3-6 at a time and enjoyed them as they ripened, replacing with new ones off the tree as those already picked got used up.
As an experiment, I left one pear only on the tree to see how long it remained without rotting. It was still there, still unripe, when I went on holiday on 14 Sept. So I guess, whilst they don't seem to ripen on the tree, remaining in their growing environment on the tree actually keeps them from rotting.