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Comice Pear Harvest

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Yesterday, my mom and I harvested about 70 Comice pears from a small tree in my backyard. Our tree is crammed into a small space in between our house and a fence that is only about 6 or 7 feet away from the house and runs parallel to the house. The tree has grown upright in between the house and the fence. This tree was planted by the previous owners of the house. They didn’t pick the best spot, because the tree doesn’t have enough room to grow any wider. However, our Comice pear tree has managed to produce an abundance of pears nearly every year (except the years I didn’t net the tree). This is an example of how a fruit tree can be grown in a small space in a backyard and still produce high quality fruit.

In my opinion, Comice pears are the best tasting variety of pear. In fact, they are one of the best tasting fruits. The comice pears we have harvested from our tree taste even better than Bartlett pears. Our comice pears are very sweet. They are sweeter than Bartlett. Bartlett pears tend to have a bit of tartness, although I am a big fan of those pears as well. We also have a Bartlett pear tree.

Like all pears, Comice pears need to be picked while they are still unripe, and then ripened indoors. The worst thing about Comice pears is having to wait so long to eat them. Comice, Bosc, and D’Anjou pears need to be kept in a refrigerator for at least a month after harvest. After a month in cold storage, they can be brought to room temperature to ripen properly.

September 28 2009 | Pears | 5 Comments »

Comice Pear Tree

This is a picture of a Comice pear tree growing in our yard.  This year, it is full of fruit. The pears are nearly ready to be picked. In our area, late September is an ideal time to harvest Comice pears.

Comice pears should be picked when they are still green and hard. When I first harvested pears from this tree a few years ago, I let the pears ripen at room temperature for several days. That turned out to be a mistake. Even after a few weeks, the pears were still very hard, and they tasted terrible.

Years after that, I read that many pears, such as Comice and Bosc, need to be stored in refrigeration for about 3-4 weeks after harvest, and then brought back to room temperature to ripen. Unlike Bartletts, Comice pears do not ripen properly at room temperature without prior refrigeration.

Last year, I picked a few Comice pears from our tree and refrigerated them for a month after harvest. Then, I took them out of the refrigerator and let them ripen in a fruit bowl for about a week. They were delicious. Properly ripened Comice pears are very sweet. They almost taste as good as Bartletts.

Back in June, I put bird netting around most of the tree. The netting keeps the local squirrels from eating the fruit. Some years, I lost the entire crop to squirrels. They typically remove the pears months before they are ready to pick. This year, I haven’t seen any half-eaten fruit lying around the base of the tree.

September 22 2008 | Pears | Comments Off on Comice Pear Tree

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 | Pears | 2 Comments »

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