I have a pear tree in my garden, which is productive more years than not, with this year being no exception.
However, it is fairly rare that I get an edible crop of pears from it. I have been nicely surprised a couple of years, but usually I end up with a pile of nicely sized fruit that never ripen. I am not sure what the factor is that made things work on the good years, but it seems to be all or nothing.
I’ve tried all sorts of things, including putting them in a bowl (or paper bag) with a banana. The fruit tend to stay rock hard, up to the point when they begin to rot from the inside. This year, I had a bowlful of pears sitting for ages, and they eventually began to soften. However, although they had “give”, they were still crisp to bite, and had no flavour. Next moment, they were spoiled.
I read that commercial growers give the pears a burst of extreme cold to start them ripening, so I thought I would try this. My first attempt sadly failed, and wasted many good pears; as I put them in the freezer for the suggested 6-8 hours, then – due to illness – forgot they were there. When defrosted, a couple of days later, they spoiled almost immediately.
The latest batch (the rest of my crop) were in the freezer for 6 hours, then taken out to defrost in my kitchen overnight. I’ve just tried one and it is much better in texture (a little firm, but not crisp), and – more importantly – is sweet and pleasant tasting. I reckon in a few hours, it will be nigh on perfect.
I know by the look of them that they are not going to stay in this state for long, so tonight I am going to peel the rest, cook them gently, and freeze them again.
I haven’t got the technique quite right (the ideal temperature to take them to is colder than a fridge, but warmer than a freezer), but it is so much more successful than previous years.