Storing unripe pears at room temperature in a paper bag speeds up the ripening process. Pears emit ethylene, a natural growth hormone, that the paper bag helps to contain.
Pears are harvested when mature; however, they don’t ripen on the tree. USA Pears recommends storing unripe pears at room temperature because refrigeration hinders ripening. In addition to storing pears in a paper bag, including an apple or banana to the bag hastens the process even more. This method of ripening happens quickly, so check the pears for ripeness daily. Most pear varieties don’t change color as they ripen. If gentle thumb pressure applied to the neck of the pear gives, the pear is ripe.