Growing Pears in Texas
One of the easiest to grow fruits in Texas is probably the pear. At this time of the year we get a lot of calls from people saying, "I got a pear in my backyard, I haven't even sprayed it and everything and it's full of pears, and now I want to take advantage of it and eat those suckers. But how do I know when they're ready? They always seem to be hard."
Well, there's several ways you can tell when a pear's ready to harvest. First of all, it changes from a real light green on this outside skin to kind of a different color, to kind of a yellowish color. Also, the lenticels, those little lenticels that look like little pores in the pears, actually turn from green to brown.
Of course people are also concerned about the ugliness. They say,
"Oh, my pears are ugly, this fruit is ugly!"
Well don't get personal with it. It's still good to eat, and the ugliness is probably caused by insects feeding on it. Of course, if you really want to tell when the pears are ready the tree will normally tell you, and all you have to do is look on the ground a little bit. Be careful of getting off these ladders.
If you look around on the ground you'll also find some other pears lying around and they're already ripe. They already turned that yellowish color and are ready to go, and all you have to do is pick them up. Now even the ones falling on the ground may be hard, so you can wrap those in paper and let them ripen a little while in the house and they're still mighty good eating. So take advantage of this free fruit that you find laying in your backyard. There are many things you can make with pears like preserves, or jelly, or whatever you want to do. Or you just might want to eat it fresh.
This is Jerry Parsons, Vegetable Specialist for the Texas Agricultural Extension Service, the Weekend Gardener.
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