Pear Ripening

Can be classified as "Conditioning" of Anjou Pears for the Packinghouse level, or "Ripening" for the Distribution Center or Wholesale Market level.  We will refer to them both here as "Ripening".


Most pears are harvested at a mature green stage and to ripen properly, they need either a time of cold storage or external ethylene application.  



  1. Pears should be shipped and stored at 32°F. (pulp temperature). Before ripening begins, the fruit pulp temperature should be raised to 64-72°F (18-22°C).

  2. If using conventional type rooms (not forced-air ripening rooms), then be sure to air stack the boxes (at least 2" between boxes) to ensure proper air circulation. Leave 1½ feet between walls and pallets and about 6" between pallets.

  3. Once the fruit pulp temperature is stabilized in the proper range, apply ethylene at 100-150 PPM for 24-72 hours. Length of application time will depend upon the season. For early season fruit, 72 hours of ethylene introduction may be necessary to achieve the desired firmness. For later season fruit, and fruit that has been stored for 2 or more months, 48 hours or even 24 hours may be sufficient.

  4. It is important to check firmness daily. Firmness may drop one pound psi force per day on the average. Keep in mind transit time until fruit is on the shelf when determining optimum firmness.

  5. Generally, for ripening pears at a packing house, pears should be removed from the conditioning room when fruit firmness drops to 11 to 12 lb. psi force of firmness and rapidly cooled back down to 32ºF (0ºC). Trying to achieve a lower firmness can make handling and shipping more difficult. Be aware that ripened fruit will ripen faster and need gentle handling especially as the firmness decreases. Always handle pears gently.

  6. Supermarket distribution centers or wholesale markets may want a lower firmness if the fruit will have less travel time and will be on the shelf sooner. Pears in the 3 to 5 lb. psi force firmness range are often considered best for eating out of hand. However this can vary according to individual tastes and circumstances. Once desired firmness is reached, rapidly bring the temperature down to 32°F. The fruit is easily bruised; therefore, shipment and movement of the fruit at 32°F helps to minimize damage to the fruit. Pears will continue to ripen once triggered. It is important to lower pulp temperatures and keep fruit refrigerated to slow the ripening process.

  7. Check pulp temperature at least twice per day and maintain proper temperature.

  8. While applying ethylene, vent rooms by automatic ventilation or manually every 12 hours by opening the doors for 20 minutes. This rids the room of carbon dioxide which retards ripening.


For additional information:










* For a complete line of supplies for ripening, including pulp thermometers and firmness testers, visit QA Supplies.


For ethylene generators, visit Catalytic Generators.

Information on this site is amassed from a diverse number of sources. While we have made great effort to provide accurate and current ripening techniques, we make no warranties regarding these recommendations or the applicability of such information to a particular ripening operation. Please note that we do not provide these recommendations as a replacement for technical ripening experts; if having ripening problems or starting a ripening program, we suggest that professionals be consulted.




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