Pears are tricky; If allowed to ripen of the tree, most pears turn mushy and grainy. On the other hand, a pear picked too early never ripens. After harvest, a pear requires 5 to 10 days at room temperature to fully ripen. Select firm, unblemished pears. The ripening process is hastened by placing pears in a pierce paper bag with an apple or banana. When ripe, pears are fragrant and the flesh at the stem yields to gentle pressue. Store ripe pears in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Anjous are considered firmer than Bartletts, but less flavorful. The flesh of an Anjou stands up well to cooking, but pear skin darkens and toughens when heated. Remove skin before cooking.