Book Review: The Great Book of Pears
September 10, 2010
When it comes to finding books on pears in regards to growing, caring for, and variety, most of the time you have to settle on general orchard books that also talk about peaches, cherries, and other fruit, and the information about different pear varieties is horrible in those books. There really does not seem to be many books on just pears the way there are books on just apples. The only book I could really find to fit the bill was The Great Book of Pears by Barbara Jeanne Flores with photographs by Susanne Kaspar.
The Great Book of Pears is a tall narrow book that was published in 2000. It starts off with a history of pears, even talking about the origins of “A partridge in a pear tree” as being symbolic of lusting for someone in the Middle Ages. It then gets into growing pears, which I find easy to read with a Q&A format, where the questions in bold and answers to follow. However, it is only 8 pages long, so other books may do well to help supplement this area. The next section is on “The Pear Collection,” where it shows a picture of a pear variety with the name, pronunciation, when and where it was discovered/breed, and then a description. Compared to the apple books I have read, this is seriously lacking, as I want to know so much about how it grows, blooming, when it ripens, diseases, etc, but at the same time, I have found no other books that even discuss pear breeds this much. The book does contain a pear tasting glossary before moving on to cooking with pears, which takes up a little more than one third of the book. It does say that it takes 20 pounds of whole, unpeeled pears to yield a gallon of perry making juice, and it takes 28 pounds of Bartlett pears to make one bottle of pear eau-de-vie.
The back of the book has a limited listing of pear festivals and fruit shows and nurseries to buy pear trees from.
All in all, I’m a little frustrated with how very little there is in the way of finding books devoted to growing pears, so even though this book has flaws, it is really the best one out there.