Comice Pears are also known as the “Holiday Pear”; although they’re harvested at about the same time as Bosc and D’Anjou (i.e. mid-September), they generally aren’t ready to sell until after a prolonged period in cold storage. The longer Comice Pears stay in cold storage, the sweeter they are, which means the best Comice Pears are the ones purchased during the holidays, i.e. from just before Thanksgiving through Christmas!
Comice Pears are highly favored for their incredible juiciness, elegant sweetness, and smooth buttery texture. A favorite way of eating Comice Pears once they’re ripe is to cut them in half, scoop out the seeds, and eat them with a spoon. These pears are at their best when eaten fresh, and do not preserve well (use Bartletts for canning or drying), nor will they hold up to the cooking process (see Bosc Pears for that!)
Norm Lehne Garden & Orchards in Roseburg grows all their pears using IPM practices. Whole, unwashed, unripe Comice Pears will keep up to five days when stored at room temperature, and for approximately two weeks when stored in the refrigerator. Note: Comice do not change color as they ripen, so learn the “check the neck” method of confirming ripeness (see below).
Did you know, you can tell when ANY pear is ripe by how much give there is around the stem of the pear. The more give around the stem (at the “neck” so to speak), the riper it is. (With the exception of the Bartlett, most pears don’t change color as they ripen, so color is NOT a good indicator.) Pears ripen from the inside out, so by the time a pear is soft around the middle, it’s likely rotten on the inside. Since the neck of a pear is the first place to get soft, checking for ripeness here guarantees that you won’t bite into a rotten pear!
Remember this catchy saying – “Check the Neck” – and you’ll always know when your pears are ready to eat.