The Pear Harvest
While not as impressive as our massive peach harvest, our first-ever pear harvest is in the books:
That's all of it--just five Anjou pears. That may not seem like much, but pear trees typically take several years before they bear fruit, so the fact that we have any pears at all yet is pretty exciting. I also pollinated these myself with a paint brush back in the spring, since our other pear tree didn't bloom this year.
The pears aren't ready to eat yet, but they seemed ready to harvest, because they pulled easily off of the tree. Pears have a two-part ripening process: first you have to chill them, then you have to allow them to ripen at room temperature before you want to use them. The best information I found was from Oregon State, and according to them, Anjou pears should be chilled for a minimum of two to six weeks, then ripened at room temperature for another week to ten days.
I put ours in the crisper drawer of our fridge, and set it for high humidity, which was recommended elsewhere. At the earliest, we'll be eating pears in November, but we should be able to store Anjou pears for a few months.
Provided this all works out, it will be really nice to have a bit of fresh fruit in the dead of winter, and in the future, these babies will be the key to surviving a new No Buying FRUIT Challenge. We haven't bought any fruit since the end of July, though I should note that citrus and avocados don't count since we can't grow them here (and we love not having scurvy). We probably don't have quite enough of a full orchard yet to give up bananas and other tropical fruits this winter, but we certainly wouldn't bother buying anything that we grow. Berries and melons out of season just can't compare to the things we are bringing in from the garden right now, and there's something to be said for a little self-denial over the winter to make everything taste that much sweeter when summer rolls around again.