Thursday, September 24, 2009

Consider the Pear

Last weekend I bought a box of pears, green and rock hard, with every intention of canning them when they were ready. They are ripening fast, and now I'm wondering if they will last long enough to see the inside of the canner. Oh, how we love pears!

Today I found the September 4, 2002, food section of The Herald with a page-and-a-half dedicated to "the delectable pear." Here are some excerpts from the article:

There are more than 5,000 known pear varieties in the world, but few are grown commercially. Although pear trees grow throughout the United States, few areas outside of the Northwest and California offer the near-perfect conditions that pear trees require to produce their delectable fruit.

Levulose, the sweetest of known natural sugars, is found to a greater extent in fresh pears than any other fruit.

How do you know when pears are ripe?
- Pears ripen from the inside out and generally do not change color when ripe. To check for ripeness, press gently near the stem with your thumb. When it gives slightly, the fruit is ready. Waiting until pears are soft around the middle may indicate over-ripeness.
- Store unripe pears in a warm place in a fruit bowl or in a paper bag. Check daily for ripeness.
- Store ripe pears in the coldest part of the refrigerator.
- Do not freeze pears.

I'm having lunch today with the my childhood friends, and I'm taking Dutch Pear Pie, a recipe from Tom's cousin Nancy Hess. I thought you might like the recipe!

Cousin Nancy's Dutch Pear Pie

Sift together:
1/4 c flour
1 c sugar

Mix in:
1 T lemon juice
1 c heavy cream

Mix till smooth.
Cut 4-5 large pears into small pieces. Add to cream mixture.


Mix together:
1 T sugar
1/4 t cinnamon

Pour into unbaked 8-9" pie shell. Sprinkle on topping.
Bake at 450° for 45-50 minutes. Cool till set.

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