Fall Fruits

Guess what I was up to this evening?

A neighbor down the road has a huge pear tree, absolutely loaded with little fruits smaller than my fist. Last year I just walked by and eyed it longingly; this time I got up the gumption to knock on his door and, when he wasn’t home, leave a note asking if he was going to use all those pears. I don’t know what variety they are, but I didn’t care.

He called.

I brought my rickety old ladder over and picked for a couple hours after dinner, racing the ominous rumblings of an approaching thunderstorm. Josh walked SofĂ­a over and she helped me gather windfalls while he took a nap in the back of the truck. She was – surprisingly – very good at being discerning. I was afraid she’d chuck in rotten fruit willy-nilly, but she did a perfect job.

Even on the ladder I could only reach the lower half of the branches – the tree must be 30 feet tall. But in the end I got two bushels worth of fruit, all of which must ripen a few more days in the sunporch before processing.

We pulled into the garage just as the first drops of rain began to fall.

The green ones were plucked from the tree. They will be eaten fresh and made into pear butter, pears in spiced syrup, and pear-apple-sauce.

The yellow ones were windfalls. While they are mostly perfect or barely damaged, they might have bruises that will show up later. These – if I can manage to get the stamina together for the long tedious cleaning, grinding and hand-pressing – will become perry, or a sort of hard apple cider made from pear juice. As I understand it, this is a traditional use for windfalls and imperfect fruits.

We’re not big pear eaters – inspire us. What’s your favorite pear recipe?

8 Responses to “Fall Fruits”

  1. Erin Says:

    Jealous!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We almost bought a house with a delious pear tree (yes I tryed them, lol). I will have to wait patiently for my apples…patience not my strong suit;)

  2. diana Says:

    Oh I know. I think I’m going to go ahead and let my trees produce a couple fruits each next year because I just can’t wait five years before tasting anything! No way!

  3. Lindsay McFadden Says:

    ok this is so stupid easy but really yummy – graham cracker with cream cheese topped with sliced pears mmmm…. although not a great way to use up a bunch of pears. Pear Crisp sounds good too. I have a recipe (which I haven’t tried) where you toss 2 1/2 pounds of pealed pears with 1/2 tsp grated nutmeg or cardamom, covered with an almond crisp topping*… it says pears are good pared with blackberries, raspberries, and apples.

    *Crisp topping made with chopped almonds instead of rolled oats.

    That recipe is from vegetarian cooking for everyone by Deborah Maddison. There are many more pear recipes if you have that book. Ooo – pear almond upside down cake.

    Also, I love pork with apples. I wonder if pears would be good too?
    – pearsauce (instead of applesauce)?
    – some sort of beer or other beverage?

    wow – I must be hungry :) I don’t bake much with pears because it seems like when we get them we eat them up quickly. And I’ve never had so many. Looking forward to see what you do with them!

  4. diana Says:

    Hi Lindsay – Oh I loved all your ideas! Mmm Fall baking is just the best! I especially like the upside-down cake idea because I could totally see pears in brown-sugar caramel. And The almond crisp topping because I’m such a fan of marzipan. Oh this is gonna be great!

  5. Heidi Says:

    I’ve seen some pear butter, jam with berry combinations,pear ice cream???on the net.If with all you are doing, you have any spare time. If you don’t, I LOVE searching for stuff, set me loose…

  6. Heidi Says:

    as I said in the e-mail: http://www.usapears.com/Recipes%20And%20Lifestyle/Now%20Serving/Recipes/All%20Recipes.aspx

    has some lucious looking recipes. You may want to go back and strip that tree…

  7. Heidi Says:

    http://whatscookingamerica.net/Appetizers/Perada.htm

    Iberian Pear “Cheese” or Pear Jelly–cook whole and unpeeled, peel when slightly warm and run through food mill or sieve to get 3 cups puree. add sugar, water, lemon and optional liquid pectin or better yet cook an apple with the pears( for its pectic content–slightly unripe has more pectin)before adding other indredients.cook per recipe pour into molds to cool and set.Unmold and cut up when cooled and set….sounds interesting. Did you ever have anything like this in Spain?

  8. diana Says:

    Hm, sounds like a quick version of membrillo. I might add some gelatin to be sure it sets though! Never had this in Spain – don’t even remember seeing it. But I think I’m going to try it!

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