One of the most common questions we get regarding fruit is "How can you tell if it's ripe?" With some fruits, you can tell by the color, but with pears that doesn't really work. Bartlett pears, for example, turn from green to yellow as they ripen. However, some varieties of pears turn from dark red to bright red....or other varieties like Anjou and Bosc change color very little. USA Pears has come up with a clever little tag line to help you determine ripeness: "Check the Neck." Since pears ripen from the inside out, it's best to check the narrowest part of the pear (the neck or stem end) to tell if it's ripe. Gently press your thumb against the neck and if it yields slightly, it's ripe and sweet. If you wait until the pear is soft around the middle, it may be overripe.
If you find the pears you've bought aren't quite ripe enough for your taste, put them in a bowl or paper bag and let them stand at room temperature for a day or so. Continue to "Check the Neck" until it yields slightly and you'll then find the pear is ready to eat. If your pears are at your preferred ripeness, you can then put them in the refrigerator to slow any further ripening.