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.