Conference pears

I have a conference pear tree in my garden but am never able to know when to pick them. They are either to ripe, (look good on the outside but rotten inside) or not ripe enough and never seem to ripen. Can any one advise me whether there is there a way of telling when these should be picked.



  • artjakartjak Posts: 4,168

    I am afraid with all pears (I have Concord) that there is only a nano-second when they are edible. This also applies to shop bought ones. Generally, if you can easily remove the pear with a little twist, I would say they are ready; but don't forget last year was truely awful for fruit and was not at all typicalimage

  • ERBERB Posts: 17

    Thank you Artjak. This has been going on for about 10 years and still can't get it right.

  • artjakartjak Posts: 4,168

    Have you thought of juicing them, which can be done with slightly under ripe ones?

  • flowering roseflowering rose Posts: 1,632

    I pick the pears from my daughter tree while they are still firm.I pick only what I need and put in the fridge to keep for a week.You can store them but they are best picked from the tree when you need them.

  • I've been buying British grown conference pears for weeks now and wondered how they are harvested & stored - given that it must be months since they were picked - so I googled a bit & found lots of info, which I'm sure you'd find useful too.  It seems that pears don't in fact ripen on the tree!

    Whenever I  buy slightly under-ripe fruit, I put it in a bowl with a ripe banana because that always speeds up the ripening process.  Any over-ripe bananas (I prefer to eat them when they're still a bit green at both ends) are then used to make a cake.

  • ERBERB Posts: 17

    Thank you I do pick them when they are still firm but they don't seem to ripen very well. Could try juicing, I have never tried that. I will try again to google and see if I can get any further info. Thank you all for your comments.

  • Pear Trees should be pruned twice a year...

  • ERBERB Posts: 17

    Thanks Stephen I do prune them once a year after all the fruit have been picked. When should they be pruned again.

  • Iv'e read, wrap them in paper check regulaly. Sorry about spelling

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 42,712

    Conference pears cook brilliantly when a bit firm - lovely in a pear and almond cake, simply stewed pears with yoghurt and muesli for breakfast, or wonderful spiced pickled pears (very easy) to eat with cold meats for C........ image Yuletide, or a pear and walnut crumble with custard ..... I could go on....... and on....... and on.......

    A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in - Greek proverb 
  • KezzaKezza Posts: 90

     "It seems that pears don't in fact ripen on the tree!"

    How interesting hypercharleyfarley!!

    I never knew thatimage.  I've been trying to squeeze the pears on my tree for weeks and weeks now, waiting for them to soften up so I can pick and scoff them, so this explains why they're all still hard as rocks !!!

    I'll see if I can gently twist some off, as have had my eye on about half a dozen nice blushed ones, not sure of the variety, I thought Williams, but not sure.  Then I will put to the side with a banana for company and then scoff.image

  • Birdy13Birdy13 Posts: 531

    Bramley and conference

    Trying to cut down a bit on sugar intake, I discovered the other day that gently stewing an underripe conference pear with a Bramley apple and a few cloves gives a beautifully delicate and refreshing dessert needing no sugar!

    Just cut the fruit thinly, add a bit of boiling water - enough to make some juice - bring back to the boil and turn off heat and leave the lid on. The residual heat of the electric hob does the rest.

    Also nice to add a spoonful or two of the fruit mix to porridge to jazz it up a bit.

  • paull2paull2 Posts: 93

    As has been said, they are ready to pick when they come away when you lift them with a slight twist. If you have to pull, then it's too soon. In any case they will be rock hard, which is the way my wife likes to eat them but I don't. I put them in a bowl on a windowledge for a week or two to soften slightly.

  • If you pick conference pears while still firm and then put in the salad drawer in your fridge they will ripen slowly but still stay firm.


  • this is all really interesting as I've just harvested about 30 pears from my tree - its first year of fruiting properly - and some I've left on as they didn't want to part from the tree so I'll try them again next week.

    Now I need to clear some room in the fridge!!!! Thanks all of youimage

  • Matty2Matty2 Posts: 4,820

    I have some lovely pears - first crop ever and was wondering when to pick them as they just seem hard. Will twist a couple and then see.

    By the way last year i was given some and made the most delicious pear and vanilla jam. (recipe I found on interent) Will have another go this year but will make sure I use preserving sugar, which I don't usually bother with

  • Matty2Matty2 Posts: 4,820

    Following the instructions on here I have just picked my first crop of Concorde pears. I didn't even have to twist just lightly lifted the fruit and they came away.

    Now I will leave them in a bowl for a few days near the bananas and see what happens . I will let you know

  • Birdy13Birdy13 Posts: 531

    My little conference tree has done so well this year I'm thrilled. As this photo taken today shows they're all still on the tree except for two that came off in high winds recently. 


    When I tested the 'lift and twist' method the other day I did find two more came away but rather reluctantly so I've left the others for a bit longer. I suspect that it won't be much longer, however, as forecast suggest temperatures are due to stay higher than normal for the rest of September.

    I'm now wondering if it's best to take them off now for a slower ripening in a cool place in newspaper...

    No hum! Such big problems to resolve...image...image...

  • Birdy13Birdy13 Posts: 531

    The birds have started to nibble the tops of some the conference pears. I'm taking that as a sign : if they are noticeably riper to the birds then it's time to pick. 

    So I did!

    Even though they're still hard when pressed at the tops. I shall wrap them in newspaper and store them; somewhere 'cool and dark' rings a bell from deep back in childhood. It will be interesting image to see if I can use them as I need them through the next few months without wastage. 

  • Birdy13Birdy13 Posts: 531

    You will see from my last post that I picked my conference pears back on the 23 September.

    i duly wrapped them individually in newspaper and left them in the dark in an empty drawer. 

    Their condition was perfect when they came off the tree: 30 - 40 good sized, firm, unripe but unblemished pears - a great harvest for the second year of fruiting. (the tree was planted in about 2010)



     Unfortunately they ripened off the tree much quicker than anticipated. I guess the drawer was not in a cool enough place to slow the process down so I lost several within the first week. Some had actually turned to mush within a week...




    It seems that pears ripen from the inside out - which is therefore how they rot too! That is why they still feel hard outside when they are in fact ready to eat: with those I caught  just before they started to rot - as the inside is only just turning pink - the flavour was astounding, far better than any shop-bought I've tasted. 

    What I think I should have done - not having a proper 'cold room' for storage - is to have taken them off the tree about 3-6 at a time and enjoyed them as they ripened, replacing with new ones off the tree as those already picked got used up. 

    As an experiment, I left one pear only on the tree to see how long it remained without rotting. It was still there, still unripe, when I went on holiday on 14 Sept. So I guess, whilst they don't seem to ripen on the tree, remaining in their growing environment on the tree actually keeps them from rotting.

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