Saturday, March 29, 2008

The Perpetual Pear

I had discovered in my reading that pear trees sometimes take a year off.
That the little tree in the backyard that gave us a thousand pounds of pears last summer might take it easy.
I kind of hoped it would.
But, no. It's covered in white blossoms. Impossibly thick blossoms, sometimes twenty of them clustered at the tip of one tiny twig.
So there will be pears again this year.
I have to assume some self-pruning will occur. The tree cannot sustain that much fertility, that much weight on its slender branches. Perhaps I will have to do the thinning myself.
But I'm no longer afraid of the pear tree.
At the peak of its fruitfulness last August, we were collecting baskets and baskets of pears, every day. I gave away bags and bags and bags of them. Of course, we ate many of them raw, embellished with other foods, added to salads, or just plain. And I pressed many more of them into juice, roasted them into pear butter, and stewed them into chutney.
For a few months there, it was total pear frenzy.
But it was nice to have preserved pears to last through the winter.
I still have a large tub of pear chutney in the refrigerator. I'm not sure we'll be able to eat it all up in the next four months, when the next harvest will begin.
But it's tasty, and it's nice to try.
This is a lamb sandwich.


Chilebrown said...

Jeeze Louis, I hope you have a lot of pears. You need an excuse for Biggles to dig a hole in your backyard!

Anna Haight said...

Mmmm, fresh pears, pear butter you are lucky.

Mary Coleman said...

If you need to get rid of some of the pear chutney,
send asap to Mary Coleman c/o Feeding Groom, Nashville, Tn.

pea said...

i could only hope to have your backyard produce issues.

kudzu said...

A neighbor's pear trees have branches over the fence, which means pears on my side -- and if the blossom count means anything, I'll have fruit for myself this summer. There have been flocks of robins in those trees for the last several weeks, singing every morning.

Heather said...

I'd be happy to ship you some quinces in a few months if you want to dump some of those pears up north.

Zoomie said...

There you go again with the pears, pears, pears. I volunteer to take a bag full off your hands if you'll take some of my peaches! Lam sammich looks good and the pear pairing sounds yumlicious.

cookiecrumb said...

Chilebrown: Oh, man, I keep going out there and eyeing that spot on the lawn... We saved the three rocks that held up the grill...

Anna: I'll have to find a way to get you some.

Mary Coleman: Here in the foodblogosphere, I believe many such wishes have been made. Amazingly, many have also been granted.

Pea: Hah. I could only hope to have your pastry skills! Imagine what you would do with grease, flour and pears.

Kudzu: I totally believe neighbors should share. I draped a large swath of my orange tree over the fence, but my neighbors didn't want any... And it turns out they have a peach tree they're not sharing!!
Lucky you. And the robins.

Heather: Meet you in Mt. Shasta?
Ho, boy, quince. I have been persuaded to make membrillo (as in quince paste) from my pears! Eek!
(PS, I lrv your sig photo.)

Zoomie: This year, I WILL take some peaches. What a dumb bunny I was last year, too freaked out by pears to enjoy some of your peaches.
We'll save a couple of sacks of Bartletts for ya.

cook eat FRET said...

you californians get sooooo annoying... brag brag brag...

i live for pears - and oranges.

i wanna tree to call my very own... then and only then will i ever be happy.

Zoomie said...

It was your first year as pear parents and a little anxiety is to be expected. No harm, no foul.

cookiecrumb said...

ceF: Funny, because if I'd been given a choice which fruit trees to plant, I wouldn't have picked pear or orange... But now I'm so glad they were *already* in the yard when we moved here (not braggin').

Zoomie: Ever since we located the Marin Food Bank, we've been a lot less daunted by our bounty, and we're feeding people we've never met. Nice.

shuna fish lydon said...

Remember there are always pastry chefs. we love free fruit. especially Independent Contractor ones!

Anna Haight said...

oooh!! fresh homegrown pears! Wow! Do you have an extra Beansprout too ;-)