Let’s say you’re at the market and feel inspired by a display of beautiful pears — but they’re not quite ripe. (Most pears have trouble ripening fully on the branch. If they get too heavy and are about to smash to the ground, they’re picked before their peak.) No worries: Just put them in a paper bag at room temperature and they’ll ripen. How quickly depends on how far along they are. If you’re in a hurry, add a banana or apple to the bag; the ethylene they’ll give off will hasten the process. And what if you’ve found some beautiful, ripe pears but you’re not ready to serve them? Putting them in the fridge will slow nature down, and you’ll get an extra day or two out of them.