Two years ago, I bought a box of mixed fruit from an FFA fundraiser. It was beautiful, huge, delicious fruit, and best of all, there were instructions in the box for how to ripen the pears.
Since then I have come to greatly enjoy pears, so I thought I would share what I have learned.
First, let them ripen slowly on the counter, preferably at the top of a bowl of apples. Don't put them out of sight and forget about them. They can be done in a brown paper bag, but not me, or I'll be pulling them out two months later when I wonder what smells. So I just do them in my fruit bowl. Always handle them very gently as they do bruise easily.
When they start to turn yellow, gently check for ripeness by pressing gently on the flesh near the stem. I must stress gently here! If it doesn't budge, it's not ripe yet. If it feels soft but not mushy, it's just right. If it's mushy, eat fast!
You can, of course, push on the flesh anywhere, but if you only check near the stem, then if it does leave a bruise, it's only on a tiny part of the pear, not right out in the middle of the fat body where it spreads to the whole pear.
Now that you are sure it is ripe, cut it with that cool apple-coring tool. It may not go perfectly on the center, but it cuts nice and evenly without all the bruising of handling the pear.
If you're lucky it falls off the tool in a nice flower shape. This is really pretty. Put a dried apricot in the center and you've got a decorative fruit plate. So easy!
Enjoy the sweet, juicy pear!
Handle with care.
Ripen on counter with apples
Test near stem
Cut with apple corer