Pears are similar to apples in that they have small seeds and grow on trees. They’re a good source of vitamin C and fiber. They’re available year-round, although they taste best from fall to winter. Pears can be made into pear butter or canned.
- Pears are an ancient fruit that came from Western Europe, Africa, and Asia. Pear remains have been found in ruins near Lake Zurich. In Rome, Pliny the Elder recommended stewing them with honey. In The Odyssey, Homer says pears are “a gift from the gods.”
- There are over 3,000 varieties of pears, including Asian pears, which are round and crunchy.
- Most pears in the U.S. come from Oregon or Washington.
- Unlike most fruit, pears ripen best off the tree. They have a long shelf-life. Because of this sea voyagers often took them on trips.
- America is one of the largest growers of pears in the world.
- Pears belong to the rose family. Raspberries and blackberries are also in this family.
- Pears are ripe when they give slightly when touched. They taste woody if they’re not ripe.
- Renaissance painters often used pears as a subject. They are beautiful with their rounded shape and subtle coloring. Pear trees are mentioned in the song, “The Twelve Days of Christmas.”
- Colonists brought pear trees to America, but they didn’t do well in New England’s climate. Pioneers took pears to the Pacific Northwest, where they flourished.
- Ancient: old
- Shelf-life: how long a food stays fresh
- Pacific Northwest: the region that includes Washington, Oregon, and northern California.
Questions and Answers
Question: How should I eat a pear?
Answer: Don’t worry about peeling pears. Just eat them fresh out of hand or cut them into quarters. Pears can also be poached in a sweet liquid or baked. Dried pears are sometimes used in muffins and scones.
Learn how to make poached pears with vanilla cream sauce.
Watch a video of a pear harvest.