Bartlett Pears

This is a picture of a small Bartlett pear tree in our yard.  It is full of pears this year.  I counted about 130.  Mid-August is usually the time to harvest Bartlett pears in central California.  Last year, this tree did not have a single pear.

The branches of the tree are so full of fruit, I have held them up using plastic chairs to keep the fruit off the ground.  The branches of this tree are weak and spindly.  A few of the branches broke off under the weight of the fruit.  I have noticed that Bartlett pear trees often have an unattractive form.  Overall, our tree is not a very good looking tree.  But the quality of the pears it produces makes it well worth growing. The texture of the fruit is incredibly soft and buttery, and the flavor is sweet.

I am picking the pears before they are ripe and then letting them ripen indoors.  Pears do not ripen properly on the tree.  The fruit ripens from the inside out.  If they are left on the tree until they seem ripe, the fruit may be rotten inside.

Color is one indication of when to harvest.  Bartlett pears are usually ready to pick when they are a pale green color.  Another technique involves lifting each fruit into a horizontal position.  If the pear comes off the branch easily when lifted up, it is ready to harvest.  

The fruit ripens in about 7-10 days when indoors at room temperature.  Bartlett pears turn from green to yellow as they ripen.  When the top of the pear near the stem (or the bottom of the pear) is soft to touch, it is ready to eat.  

Bartlett pears are one of my favorite fruits.  The pears I have eaten from our tree and from my parent’s Bartlett pear tree are the sweetest pears I have ever tasted.

Sometimes, when I have a large harvest of Bartlett pears, I store a portion of them in the refrigerator.  Pears can be stored for weeks in refrigeration, which slows down the ripening process, and then brought back to room temperature to ripen fully.  However, the Bartlett pears that I have eaten after refrigeration were not as sweet as the ones that were ripened at room temperature right after harvest.

The bottom picture is a small max’s red bartlett pear tree growing in a pot.  It’s producing pears for the first time this year.  The red bartlett pears I have eaten were even sweeter than yellow Bartlett pears.  I can’t wait to taste these.


August 15 2008 04:13 pm | Pears