How to Harvest Kieffer Pears

Kieffer pears may be harvested ripe or underripe.
Kieffer pears may be harvested ripe or underripe. (Image: Hemera Technologies/ Images)

The Kieffer pear is a popular tree for the home landscape. It is one of the hardiest pear varieties and one of the heaviest producers. The Kieffer's pears, while not as sweet as other varieties, are good for baking, canning and fresh eating. Kieffer pears may be eaten ripe off the tree. But to keep the abundant crop around long enough to figure out what to do with all that fruit, harvest them early and store the pears. If handled properly, they will stay good for weeks or even months.

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Harvest ripe Kieffer pears when they begin to turn from green to yellow. Kieffer pears are fully ripe when they have turned from green to yellow. Ripe pears are firm but the stem end of the pear yields to gentle pressure from your thumb and the fruit stem separates easily from the spur. Soft Kieffer pears are overripe.

Harvest mature but underripe Kieffer pears for long-term storage. Look for pears that are green but beginning to yellow.

Store pears in the refrigerator -- as near to 32 degrees Fahrenheit as possible -- to extend their shelf life. In the refrigerator, unripe pears will remain unripe for up to several months, but should be used as soon as possible. Check on them frequently for signs of rotting. Ripe pears will remain in an ideal ripe stage for a week or more.

Store pears at room temperature in a well-ventilated spot away from direct sunlight for short-term storage. Ripe pears will last three days to one week before they are overripe. Underripe pears fresh off the tree or refrigerated in an underripe stage for weeks will ripen in three to five days.

Tips & Warnings

  • Kieffer trees remain productive for roughly 50 years. They are self-fertile, but fruit better if there is more than one Kieffer tree in the area.
  • Do not eat underripe pears.
  • Ripen underripe pears more quickly by placing them in a closed paper bag.


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