Pears from the Kitchen Garden

Concorde pear, espalier, blossom time, kitchen garden

Pear blossom in Spring

Is a beautiful thing

But the fruit in Autumn

Is truly awesome

Pears poached in wine

Are utterly divine

But nothing can compare

With a just ripe pear

Pear trees, along with apples, were one of the first things planted in the kitchen garden, probably in 2003 or thereabouts, because they take a few years to establish and yield fruit. Two-year espaliers on dwarf rootstock; Comice and Concorde varieties planted against a south facing wall.

Pears are easier to grow than apples. The flowers emerge in early April so late frosts can be an problem though never in the 15+ years we have had our trees. Apples are prone to a bewildering number of pests and diseases while pears are virtually pest-free. The diversity of apple-types seems infinite so it is possible to have a much extended harvesting season (April to December) by choosing appropriate varieties. Pear varieties are more limited, although there is still plenty of choice, and have a much shorter harvesting period (September - October).

Apples are stored in cool dark airy conditions whereas pears need a little more coddling. Unripe pears should be picked by lifting and twisting off the tree then placed in a fridge at a temperature of 2-4 ℃. If you have room you can space the pears out on the shelves so they do not touch each other of the sides of the fridge. That is not an option for me so I just place them gently in an old shoe box (no lid) and put in the fridge. Remove pears a day or two before you want to eat them. I harvested about 125-150 pears and we enjoyed the last 3 on the 5th January 2021.

 You will lose a few in storage so always check every week and remove any that have gone over. A few years ago after a very good harvest, I was eating the last pear in March of the following year.

L’Ode du Pear (Franglais version)

Le poirier Comice

Shows tout promise

Et le poirier Conference

C’est tres difference

Mais le Concorde pear

Est le plus fair


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