There are two main classes of pears, one European, one Asian. Asian pears are very crisp, juicy and sweet, but they do not have the acid balance of European and the flavors seem milder. Their crunchy texture is the opposite of European varieties. Unlike the European pears, they ripen completely on the tree and can also keep well in cold storage. They are sometimes called apple pears, due to their crunchiness and their obvious apple-type shape. The season runs from July through December.
While ripening is not an issue with Asian pears, getting a ripe European variety requires attention. First the pear must be picked from the tree when it is mature but not fully ripe. It must experience a period of cool storage, or curing, the length of time varying depending on the variety. Then it must be brought to room temperature to finish ripening. The Bartlett pear actually arrives to market in any of three stages of ripening: (1) Green and firm- at this stage, Bartletts will need four to six days at room temperature to ripen on their own-avoid refrigeration; (2) Green tinged with yellow-they are ‘breaking’ and will require another day or two to fully ripen; (3) Golden yellow-ready to eat. Always ripen Bartletts at room temperature. Once they have reached desired ripeness, they can be placed in the refrigerator to slow further ripening.
Because of the number of varieties and their ability to store well, several types of pears are always available. We are proud to offer a number of varieties from Stillwater Orchard in Courtland, CA during the local growing season - August through October.