How to Pick a Pear

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Wenatchee, Washington

I am kind of terrible when it comes to buying produce, if it isn’t in my weekly organic food delivery box I don’t buy it until I actually need it. This means I often get burned buying avocados or pears because they are never as ripe as I want them to be. When is a pear ripe anyway?

I just arrived in Wenatchee, Washington, a place I had never heard of until a few weeks ago, with the sole purpose of learning about organic farming.  The very first morning I have learned something that is ridiculously useful.


I am doing it all wrong. 


Pears are one of the few fruits that don’t ripen on a tree. Pears bought in grocery stores often don’t ripen for five days so I need to think ahead if I am buying one there. Throwing them in a bag or putting them next to bananas may help a bit but I can’t buy a pear and use it that night unless I want a really hard pear. If I buy one locally at a farmer’s market there is an easy way to see how ripe it will be.


Check the neck.


Using a thumb to apply pressure to the neck of the pear is the best way to see if it is going to be ripe all the way through.


how to see if a pear is ripe


I am sure every grandparent knows this but like most sensible things we have forgotten to pass that one on.




Disclosure: I was a guest of the Organic Trade Commission; Pear Bureau Northwest/USA Pears; Washington State Apple Commission; and Washington State Fruit Commission/ NW Cherry Growers. It’s a big group but none of them requested that I write a favourable review or realize instead of buying Bosc, I need to choose a softer pear.

Join the Conversation

  1. I had to wait until 30 to eat avocado regularly. And I learned this during my 2 yrs stay in US when I was doing my grocery shopping in a latino market. And I was astonished how they were checking maybe about 10 pieces before choosing one. While for me all the avocado fruits in the box were all the same :))

  2. Hah! That’s a good knowledge to have – I never know how to pick pears!

  3. I usually take bites out of pears and put them back on the shelf until I find a ripe one. I guess I’ll try this approach. How about cantaloupes? Any tips for those? Normally I just buy whichever one doesn’t shatter into a million pieces when I test-drop them. Good idea or no?

  4. I never thought choosing a pear was that hard. I usually check how soft/hard it is.. now choosing a Pineapple is another matter 😛

  5. Haha, I love tips like this! It makes me feel like I know a secret (albeit one a lot of people wouldn’t find all that impressive). A couple of years ago I learned the trick about picking a pineapple-pluck out one of the leaves from the top. If if slips out easily, the pineapple is ripe. If you have to give it a good tug, find a different pineapple. For some reason I find it very satisfying to pluck away until I find just the right one. Now I have to try to find some good pears in England (not an easy task)…

  6. Shane Curtis says:

    Oh I think I wanted to do that thing too. I’ve never tried picking pears but I did apple picking.

  7. Kae Lani | A Travel Broad says:

    What a nifty trick! I love pears, but never realized that pears can arrive at the grocery store unripened!

  8. Great tip! I’d never heard of it before. I usually avoid pears just because I always seemed to eat them when they weren’t ripe enough yet – and I really dislike hard pears.

  9. Mary @ Fit and Fed says:

    What a coincidence! My mom just taught me this tip when I was home for Thanksgiving. She said to press the pear next to the stem with your finger to see if it is soft there. If it is, it’s ready.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I know so simple and yet I had never heard it before!

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