[NAFEX] Pear Ripening (Core Rot)

Lucky Pittman lucky.pittman at murraystate.edu
Thu Aug 5 15:15:26 EDT 2004

At 12:05 PM 8/5/2004 -0700, Bob wrote:
>Pear ripening experts:
>Are there any cultural considerations to keep in mind?  Any fertilizers 
>and/or trace elements?  What are your
>suggestions and experiences?  On some varieties I rarely ever have any 
>core rot.

Following are responses on this topic from our own Ed Fackler, which I've 
cut & pasted from my own archived NAFEX email discussions, hopefully saving 
Ed some keystrokes, but more info from the member is always welcome.:

"> I had a question regarding European pears. What
 > is the best way to judge when they should be picked?
 >  I know that they should be picked before they are fully
 > "eating" ripe. Should they be picked as soon as the
 > seeds turn brown?
 > Thanks,
 > Chris Mauchline

Ed's response-------
Most all European pears (exception is the new Green Jade),
require post picking chill to properly mature. Or, when fruit
exhibit slight color changes, begin to test pressure (using your
thumb) near the stem. When there is a slight "give", pick all
the fruit, store at or near 35 degrees for 7 or more days. Then
you can remove them as needed, allow them to sit at room temps
for 2-4 days which allows them to ripen to peak flavor.
Years ago, I got a letter from an older NAFEX fellow who told
me that european types were very difficult to ripen due to varietal
quirks or requirements in post harvest handling. He said "Ed, if you live
long enough to
learn how to properly ripen 10 varieties, you'll be lucky". I'm still
on it!!!
Hope this helps.

Then, another question in a similar vein, to which Ed also replied:
"Am looking for a list of European pears that will store for a longer
period of time say a couple of months in the refrigerator. I had 6
different kinds from local nurseries and they did not store more than a
couple of weeks, then ripened right in the ref. and any grafts I have put
on are too young,have not produced yet. Where are scions available for
longer storage types?
What method is used to determine when a pear should be picked so it will
store longer and can any be tree ripened? Any help would be appreciated.

Ed's response---------
Of those which I'm familiar with, Harrow Sweet, Blake's Pride and the
released Shenandoah will store for up to 4 months if picked at the proper
For long term storage of any european type, they must be picked when the
begins to soften a bit near the stem end. Or simply start checking them
once per
week a few days prior to "advertised or published" maturity dates. To check
them simply use your thumb or finger to press the fruit near the stem. When
slight "give" occurs harvest immediately. And for reasons unknown, maturity
will vary like crazy from year to year.
Immediately after harvest place them in your refrigerator in perferated
bags and set the thermostat to its lowest temperature (mid 30s if possible)
at least 10 days. Bring them out to ripen at room temperature as you need
I've held Magness for three months by doing this.
As far as scion availability, Harrow Sweet is still under patent I think.
others are available but I don't where you might get them. Richard Belle
(of USDA and
looks at this list) may respond with sources.
Hope this helps

Good Growing,

Lucky Pittman
USDA Cold Zone 6
AHS Heat Zone 7
Hopkinsville, KY

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