We do not release pears to the market until the pears have been cool stored for at least 4 weeks from being picked. It is essential that the pears have been “conditioned” to at least 4 weeks of zero temperature to trigger the ripening process to produce a good quality eating pear when moved into ambient temperatures.
Unfortunately this is not widely understood by supermarkets buyers or the consumer and this is very detrimental to the image of pears when supplied to the supermarket shelf straight from the orchard without first being “cool store conditioned” to trigger the ripening process.
Pears that have not conditioned will not ripen at all! The pear will simply shrivel and go rubbery. The consumer’s that would have bought these unconditioned pears, do not understand the reason why they do not ripen, and would be put off buying pears again. Produce Managers need to be aware of this if purchasing pears early season.
The time of ripening pears after coolstorage depends on the temperature. The warmer the temperature, the faster the pear will ripen. When the pear shows signs of softening they can be held firm for a while longer by placing back into the refrigerator.