How Can You Tell if a (Warren) Pear is Ripe?

How Can You Tell if a (Warren) Pear is Ripe?

A Warren pear is hyper versatile. It can be roasted, turned into soup, added to salads, poached, or made into a crisp. In the early season, it’s great for slicing and enjoying with cheeses—especially sheep milk cheeses, like pecorino. When temperatures begin to fall, toss them in a dish with persimmons and walnuts—rounder, bolder flavors than what we enjoy in the summer. They’re a highly underrated savory fruit for Thanksgiving, for example, and are all around just the epitome of Fall fruit for us.

Unlike other fruit (like grapes, which are juicy right off the vine), pears need a little time to adjust to being off the tree. At the farm, we actually keep them in cold storage for a bit after harvest. That extra time before eating is key. At just a few degrees above freezing, the starches in the pears become sugars, the skin gets thinner, and the juiciness improves. Pears are quite good for us, if left to do what they need to do!

When Warren pears arrive at your house, you can eat them straight away. But if you’re like Farmer Al and like your fruit practically falling apart with juiciness, you can also wait a bit before diving in. With a little extra patience, a Warren pear becomes extra buttery and juicy and all around unbelievable.

As Chef Mario says, letting your fruit ripen on the countertop is the closest you can get to being a professional chef.

An interplay with your food is key to the art of cooking. You look at an ingredient and you have to have the patience to know when the best time to eat it is.

So here’s what you’re looking for:

  • Step 1: Leave your Warren pears out at room temperature and out of direct sunlight. A bowl on your countertop is a perfect spot. (Aren’t they pretty!)
  • Step 2: As you walk by every day, check to see if they’re ripe. There are a few clues to look for. The bright green color will become a pale yellow. You’ll begin to see the skin shrivel around the stem and noticeable lines might start radiating from the top. And the top will give a little when you press on it—like an avocado! There should also be a faint fragrance. The amount of time this takes will depend on the temperature in the room. 
  • Step 3: Once you’ve seen the signs, it’s time to put your Warren pear in the fridge. You can eat it right away without doing that, if you want. But warm pears tend to be intensely sweet, which can be a little much. Putting it in the fridge tames it for a better eating experience. It can last a while in there, but don’t forget about it! For best results, have it that very night. You’ve paid all this attention to it so far. It’s time for that patience to pay off.

The Warren pear is a very eat-friendly pear. Ours especially are so decadent. The added attention will be worth it.

“You really taste the changing seasons in the Warren pear,” says Chef Mario. It’s a treat to hear how he thinks about seasonality: “Even though summer is ending, you’re rewarded with this really decadent, rich piece of fruit. One thing gives its last breath, then another thing arrives.”

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Photo by Melissa Habegger

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