How Pear Trees Came About
History of the Pear Tree
Ever wonder just exactly where these amazing little tasty fruits originated from? Well I decided to research them and here is what I found.
They actually originated in Southeastern Europe and were a favorite food of the ancient Greeks and Romans. The ancient Greek author Homer described them as "gifts from the gods". The early Romans developed 50 varieties of pear and planted them across Europe. Pears are not native to the U.S. the first pear tree was planted in the United States in 1620. By the 1700's the European settlers were growing pears that they lovingly called "butter fruit" because of their soft melting texture.
The pear (pyrus communis L) is a typical fruit of temperate regions, have its origin and domestication at two different points. China and Asia Minor until the Middle East. It's the fifth most widely produced fruit in the world. Produced mainly in China, Europe and the United States. Pears belong to the rosaceous family and are a close cousin to the apple, but with certain differences that make this fruit special with a delicate flavor.
The name "Pear" comes from Latin "pera" or "pira" with some variants like in French it is poire and in German it is called a peer.
These are some of the varieties of pears, the shape, colors and what they are best used for.
Barlett Pears: These are the most common variety, and they are what you commonly buy at your grocery stores for eating. They are also used for canning, chutneys and pear preserves. They are bell shaped and turn yellow when ripe, there are also red ones. You can usually find them in abundance at your local stores between July and December.
Anjou Pears: These are oval(egg) shaped with a smooth thin skin and super delicious(my favorite). They also stay the same color when ripe, which is a light green(and they are also red). These pears are available from August to April. they're a wonderful pear all around, and can be eaten fresh or baked into pies, poached, or in savory dishes like Balsamic Chicken...yum!
Comice Pears: These pears are most loved because of they're succulent texture and sweetness. Comice pears are sometimes called "Christmas Pears" because they are most often used in fruit gift baskets, but must be handled carefully due to their delicate skin. They are short and round with bright green skin blushed with a little red. They are commonly served on cheese boards with soft or blue veined cheeses.
Bosc Pears: These pears have a brownish yellow skin(like they were spray painted) and they are tear drop shaped. To check if these pears are ripe (it can be hard to tell since pears ripen from the inside out) just give the neck a little squeeze, if it gives a little then it is ripe. This pear is well suited for pear pie since it has a sweet-tart flavor, and bakes up a little like an apple pie.
Seckel Pears: Seckel pears are so tiny that they can be preserved whole! the skin of this delicious little pear ranges from pale green to deep red and they are available in stores from September to February. They are sweet and crunchy, fun to snack on and great as a garnish in salads.
Asian Pears: Though the term is broadly applied to several varieties, These pears are usually round with brown or green skin and have a rougher surface, these pears are sweet and crisp, like an apple they are ripe when firm to the touch. They are commonly eaten fresh because the texture is very crisp and crunchy, they are also commonly used in pear tarts as well as crisps.
That is not even a quarter of all the different varieties of pear, but these are some of the more common types. Hope you learned a little more than you thought you would ever need or want to know about pears, I know I did.