September 6, 2010

My mother and I really like pears, but they aren’t as common as what apples are. Mom and I like to eat pears with ginger snaps. I love cheesecake and I’ll make a cheesecake using gluten-free gingersnaps as the crust with a pear sauce that my gluten intolerant mother-in-law can eat.

Unfortunately, for a little while, my doctor had me on a low acid diet, and the only fruits I could eat were pears, watermelon, and a limited amount of blueberries. I normally eat an apple every day, so this diet was horrible until the pears started coming into season.

Because they aren’t as popular as apples, there is very little information about pears out there, and it turns out that I happen to live just a few hours away from four of the United States’ largest pear growing regions which combined make up 80% of the United State’s pear production and contain largest pear growers in the United States, yet it is hard to obtain information.

Ben Watson wrote a little bit about pears in his Cider: Hard and Sweet. He suggests that pears are probably not a popular as apples due to being “somewhat less adaptable than apples, and fussier about the climate and soils in which they can be grown.” He goes on to say they like temperate climates with heavier, loamy soils. Plus they are more disease prone, and take a long time to mature and produce fruit, 25-30 years on standard rootstock, giving to the old saying, “Plant pears for your heirs.” However, once bearing fruit, they tend to crop heavier than apples.

In the United States, there are basically four kinds of pears sold – the early blooming and bearing Anjou and Bartlett, and the late blooming winter pears Comice and Bosc, with a few red strains and few others like Starkrimson, Concorde, and Seckel coming up the ranks. Pears need a different breed of pear to pollinate them, hence the reason for the pair of pears sold.

Further Reading:

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