The pear comes from a tree native to Asia Minor. It has been cultivated for over 3,000 years. It is a member of the large rose family, and is related to the apple, almond, and apricot. In ancient times, the Egyptians, Greeks, Roman, and Chinese praised the pear. It was grown wild. Pears became largely popular in the 16th century. Today there are over 5,000 varieties of pears. Only a handful are used for marketing, though some grow wild, or are on private estates.
Pears are very temperate natured and are sensitive to temperature. The shape of a pear can range from round to oblong. They have thin and soft skin that ranges from brown to yellow, to green to red. The flesh can range from cream to white and is slightly granular.
There are two different seasons for pears. The first is in mid July. These are the summer varieties. Next is the winter varieties. They are first harvested in the late fall, and are in season from September to January. This is the main season.
Today most pears are grown in France, California, Oregon, and Washington. They are picked while still hard, and they will continue to ripen, especially under refrigeration. Pears are commonly eaten out of hand, baked, poached, and with cheese, especially bleu cheese.
20th Century Bartletts
Best Ever Forelle Green D’Anjou Red D’Anjou
French Butter Red Seckle
Poached Pears in Saffron
10 pears, any variety or mixture of varieties, peeled, cored, de-stemmed, and sliced into eigths
1 cup sugar, or more to taste
1/8 tsp. saffron threads
2 cups water
1 bottle white wine
arrowroot or cornstarch slurry
In a saucepan, combine sugar, saffron, water and wine, over low heat, stirring until sugar is completely dissolved. Add pears and adjust liquid to cover the pears. Slowly bring to a simmer and simmer gently until pears are tender. Increase heat to a low boil. Add slurry, enough to have the consistency to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from heat and allow pears to cool in the poaching liquid. Serve either room temperature or warm.
brandy, esp. pear
cheese, esp. Brie, Cantal, Feta,
Gorgonzola, and Roquefort
wine, esp. Burgundy
© 2014 Chef Jennifer M. Denlinger All rights reserved
Cite me: Denlinger, J. (2014 December 18). Pears. Retrieved from: FloridaChef.net