Pears

Singular:
Pear
Family:
Rosaceae – Rose family
Species:
Pyrus communis

This fruit, with its completely typical form and green to greenish-yellow or with lightly turning red colour invites consumption. Their full special flavour, usually somewhat sweeter than apples, charms everyones palate.

Even though the pear is also a popular fruit in autumn and winter, it is not as important as the apple. This is probably due to the fact that pear trees require a milder climate than apple trees and pears have poorer storage qualities.

However, concerning the diversity of varieties, the pear can easily compete with the apple. Over the years, more than 5000 varieties of pears become generally known, today however, only 25 are regularly cultivated and approximately 10 different varieties are brought to market.

Origin

The pear primarily originates from Europe and Asia. To first cultured varieties were grown approx. 3000 years ago in the Greek Peleponnes. The Romans were enthusiastic breeders and managed to distinguish between 40 different varieties based to their different characteristics. In Central Europe, pomiculture was above all the practice of monasteries. However, the pears of this time were probably still quite hard as it was recommended to cook them. Raw pears were viewed precariously, some were even thought to be poisonous. This opinion soon changed and the sweet fruit correctly made its way into the cuisne of the time of the French solar-king, Ludwig XIV. To this day, you can gaze upon the age-old pear trees in the royal gardens of Versailles.

Historical Meaning

The most famous pear tree probably stood in the Orcus. According the Greek legend, Tantalus, son of Zeus, was sent into the Orcus because of his unjust acts to the gods and humans. There he paid for his sins in front of the pear tree. If he felt hungry and wanted to eat the pears hanging obove, the branches would snap back as soon as he tried out to reach it.

For the Chinese the pear tree was associated with separation and mourning. Christians saw the tree in a much more positive light, the marvelous white blooms led it to be considered as symbol of the Virgin Mother.

Pear varieties

Abate FetelAnjouClapp’s FavouriteConferenceGood LouiseGuyotBeurré BoscPackham’s TriumphWilliams’ Bon Chrétien.