Pears are one of the few fruits that do not ripen on the tree. They are harvested when mature, but proceed to ripen after picking, from the inside out. Therefore, pears may be hard and unripe when you buy them, but will get softer and sweeter once they are stored at room temperature at home.
The Bartlett variety changes colour slightly as it ripens, starting out green and turning pale yellow. However, most other varieties do not change in appearance as they ripen.
To test if your pear is ready to eat, USA Pears recommends that you, “Check the Neck™”. Simply apply gentle pressure to the neck, or stem end of the pear with your thumb. If it yields to pressure, then it’s ripe and ready to enjoy.
If your pears are not yet ripe, store them at room temperature. If your pears are already ripe, they should be refrigerated in an open plastic bag, where they will last up to five days. It is not recommended that fresh pears be frozen. However, cooked pears (i.e. pear sauce or pie filling) do freeze well in a lidded freezer-safe container, which will aid in avoiding freezer burn.