When it comes to handling and storing pears, it's important to consider the type of pear you have. There are two types: European and Asian. European pears require cold storage before ripening, while Asian pears can ripen on the branch. European pears should be picked when mature but still underripe, and Asian pears should be picked when fully mature. European pears should be stored in a cool, humid environment, while Asian pears do not store as well and should be used within three months. To ripen European pears, bring them to room temperature and use ethylene gas to speed up the process. Pears can also be preserved through canning, freezing, or dehydrating.