How do you make pears ripen quickly?


Quick Answer

When purchased from the market, placing unripened pears in a bowl of fruit or in a paper bag with apples and bananas results in the quickest ripening time. Apples and bananas give off ethylene, which is a natural gas that speeds up the ripening process.

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Full Answer

Ethylene is a hydrocarbon gas that is considered to be an aging hormone released by plants, and is commercially used in ripening some fruits postharvest. Placing pears next to apples or bananas allows them to absorb the ethylene naturally produced as the fruit ripens. However, depending on the amount of ethylene the pears are exposed to, they could potentially ripen or overripen within a matter of hours.

Pears are primarily ripened fresh off the tree by utilizing what is known as a "chill period," in which the pears are placed in a refrigerated space of 30 degrees. This can last from four days to nearly six weeks, depending on the type of pear. After the chilling period, pears are left at room temperature for three to 10 days. Pears ripen more quickly with longer chill periods. Pears purchased at the market have already undergone the chill period, and are in the process of ripening. To determine if a pear is ripened, gently squeeze the fruit near the stem. If it gives a gentle yield, it is ripe.

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