Question: My pears are so hard. I have a hard time telling when to harvest them. What tips can you give?
Answer: That’s a characteristic of many of our old-fashioned pears, most notably Kieffer. Those grit cells seem to go hand-in-hand with each variety’s resistance to fire blight. The types with more grit cells seem to be more resistant. Pears continue to ripen (“after-ripen”) for several days or weeks after harvest. You can harvest the fruits, then wrap them in newspapers and let them continue ripening. Once they’re somewhat softer to the touch, they’ll be easier to eat.