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Pears should be picked when they are fully grown, still firm, and before any visible ripening occurs. If they are left on the tree too long they become mushy and spoil without ripening or they develop gritty stone cells in the flesh. This makes them taste like they have been sprinkled with sand before you eat them. Harvest pears when the skin changes from a dark-green to a light-green color. The fruit should separate easily from the twig with an upward twist of the fruit. Pears infested by worms drop prematurely but that indicates that the other pears are near ripening. Cut through the fruit and look at the seeds. Seeds should be dark brown or black. Once pears are harvested, handle them carefully. Bartlett pears should be placed in a cool, dry place and allowed to ripen on their own. Winter pears must be chilled at near 32oF. for several weeks before they ripen. After they are removed from storage, leave them at room temperature for several days and they will ripen.