For the week of Sept. 6

Picking pears

Pears are starting to mature, but most gardeners have a hard time determining when they are ripe.

Bartlett and similar pears will ripen first. Watch the trees, and when small pears or those with worm holes start to turn yellow and drop, the time is getting close. The pear skins will change from a bright green to a duller color, and small brown lenticels or specks will appear on the skins.

Cut a few pears open and check the seeds. They will be dark brown or black if the pears are getting ripe. Grasp a pear in your hand and give it a gentle upward twist. It should separate easily from the tree. If you must tug or yank the fruit from the tree, it is not yet ready to pick.

After the pears are picked, put them in a cool basement room and let them continue to ripen.

Cover them with a cloth if you want them to turn color faster. Pears that ripen on the tree develop stone cells that make them gritty. The fruit tastes like you have sprinkled sand on it before you eat it.

Winter pears are picked later and must be stored for several weeks to ripen. If you pick them too soon they will turn brown and mushy inside.

Thursday, Sept. 10: The Utah State Fair opens. Check article in this section for the times to enter horticultural produce. The fair runs through Sunday, Sept.20.

Saturday, Sept. 12: Kids star party, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Red Butte Garden. For information call 532-STAR.