The Pear Harvest

A couple weekends ago I saw a yellow pear on the ground. It's always a solid sign that fruits are ripe when they start falling off the trees of their own accord, so I went out to check the rest. Sure enough, the pears easily separated from their stems, so I walked away with a basketful:

The green pears are our Moonglow pears, and this is our first-ever crop of them now that the tree is finally bearing. We chose this variety because they ripen early, in late August. This tree's harvest was meant to coincide with our late peaches to make peachy pear jam. Alas, our peach trees died and we had no peach harvest this year, so we'll have to find something else to do with our pears instead. 

The funny thing about pears is that you actually have to pick them before they are fully ripe, and it can be hard to tell when they're ready (which is why that first one ended up on the ground). The stems will weaken to the point where they'll break when you bend the pear 90 degrees. The tops will be just a tiny bit soft as well.

Once you pick them, they aren't ready to eat for another couple weeks. Commercial growers chill them and don't bring them out of refrigeration until they want to sell them, but we just let ours sit in the shade in the dining room. Now, 10 days later, the first ones are ready to eat:

As you can see, they've turned a golden yellow and are nice and juicy. They have a very nectar-y, honey-like flavor, and the texture is really good — not at all grainy, which I hate. They seem to be ripening at somewhat different rates, and not all of them are turning quite this yellow, so we've been relying on feel more than looks. When they're a little soft so that they give in your hand when you press them, they're ready to go.

I'm not sure if we'll be able to keep up with eating all of these out of hand, or if we'll try to can some. We also have watermelon and raspberries to eat right now too, and another round of strawberries (hopefully) and our Concord grapes are on their way. We may have to process them to keep from losing them, or make a tart or pie. 


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