The Real Reason Your Pears Won't Ripen

Despite your best intentions (and smidge of impatience), glaring at that fresh pear won't help it ripen any faster. Unlike other tree-borne fruits (like apples), pears ripen after they're harvested, not while nuzzled on the tree (via Harry & David). Once picked, growers and grocers keep the pears chilled, so they stay firm until you're ready to ripen and enjoy at home.

If you park your pears in the fridge when you get them home from the store, they'll never evolve into that tender, succulent fruit you crave. Even if you plant the pears on the counter, not all pears will ripen at the same speed (via The Spruce Eats). Depending on the variety, pears can take four to ten days to reach peak ripeness. Bartletts can take four to five days to be fully ripe, Bosc and Comice are usually ready between five and seven, and you'll have to wait from seven to ten days for that sweet D'Anjou.

Pear patience is a virtue

According to Oregon State University, pears need to be kept at room temperature to ripen properly, about 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. My Recipes says that you can speed up the ripening process by placing the fruits in a paper bag with a banana or avocado. These foods give off ethylene gas, which triggers the ripening process. Ripe pears and apples also emit ethylene gas, so huddle the ripe ones in a bag with the unripe fruit and the whole batch will ripen more quickly (via Hunker). If the apple/banana/avocado trick isn't working fast enough for you, you can stimulate ripening by using the microwave (just don't expect overnight results). Taste Essence explains that if you zap your pear in the microwave on 50 percent power for about 10 to 15 seconds and then place the fruit in the paper bag with already ripe fruit, it should go more quickly.

How can you tell your pear is ready to eat? Bartlett pears brighten as they ripen, but most other varieties show little color change, according to USA Pears. Instead of relying on visual cues, use your thumb to press gently on the "neck" of the pear; if the fruit yields to pressure, it's ripe. Now your pears are ripening too fast? Be careful what you wish for! You can slow down or delay ripening by storing your pears in the refrigerator. Ripe pears should keep in the refrigerator for three to five days (via The Spruce Eats).