Ripening European Pears (organic)


Do either comice or concorde pears require a period of cold storage to ripen properly? I have a small organic orchard. We put our fruit into cold storage, but I was under the impression that I could sell concorde and comice pears as fresh market fruit without holding them in cold storage for 3 or 4 weeks. Am I correct on this? (J.G.)


Most European pears require either a period of cold storage or treatment with ethylene gas for proper and timely ripening after harvest. About 4 weeks of cold storage will stimulate good ripening and is the easiest way to achieve good ripening. I believe you are not able to treat organic products with commercially available sources of ethylene. If you wanted to treat with the ethylene, I believe you would need to expose your pears to ethylene gas naturally produced by fruit. The citrus industry uses this method for degreening of organic citrus. You could place bins of pears under a tarp with pallets of ripening fruit such as apples, pears out of cold storage that are ripening, or some other fruit. You are trying to achieve at least 50 ppm of ethylene gas under the tarp. The pears must be at a pulp temperature between 60 and 70 ºF (16 and 21 ºC). A fan or two is added for circulation of the gas. The fruit should stay under this tarp with the ripening fruit for 1 to 3 days, depending on the firmness at the time of treatment, the firmer the fruit, the more time needed. I hope this information is useful. Please let me know if we can assist you further.

-Beth Mitcham