Good Gardening: Fresh Pears In Winter

Dec 4, 2017

I love fresh home grown fruit. Especially fruit that lasts into the winter. We all know that apples store well, but most people are not as familiar with the winter storage pears. They grow well in Oregon, and if the only pear you have is a Bartlett, you need to expand your orchard.

Credit John Fischer

My wife, family and I have a half a dozen ripe pears every day from November into January. We pick them in October, put them in the fridge, and release them slowly where they ripen on the kitchen counter. I often wonder how the decision to pick pears when they are hard, store them in the fridge for a month or more, and then let them ripen came about-- but I'm glad it did.
Winter pears that have not been chilled for a month will never be as good as a pear that has had a proper period of cold storage. And this need for storage means that winter pears ripen November through January. That's why Harry and David in Medford sells so many holiday pear gift boxes.
And that's why you should plant an Anjou, Bosch, Comice , Winter Nelis, or the like. If space is limited, a multi-variety tree can be a lot of fun.

Credit John Fischer

This is a good time of year to prepare the spot for a new bare root tree you'll put in this spring. Just put a piece of cardboard 3 feet square down on the grass, and cover it with leaves. Come February, all the grass will have decomposed, and you'll have a perfect planting spot. And pears do well even in wet soils.
The crisper drawer works well for storage. So does a box on the bottom shelf. Check them for spoilage once a week, and you can enjoy fresh pears on New Years Day. And by January second, the first of the stored kiwi fruit will be ready.

Credit John Fischer