Pears

pearA pear is a pomaceous fruit produced by a tree of genus Pyrus. The English word pear is probably from Common West Germanic *pera, probably a loanword of Vulgar Latin pira, the plural of pirum, which is itself of unknown origin.

The pear may be readily raised by sowing the pips of ordinary cultivated or of wilding kinds, these forming what is known as free or pear stocks, on which the choicer varieties are grafted for an increase. For new varieties, the flowers can be cross-bred to preserve or combine desirable traits. The fruit of the pear is produced on spurs, which appear on shoots more than one-year-old.

Summer and autumn pears are gathered before they are fully ripe, while they are still green, but snap off when lifted. If left to ripen and turn yellow on the tree, the sugars will turn to starch crystals and the pear will have gritty texture inside. In the case of the ‘Passe Crassane’, long the favored winter pear in France, the crop should be gathered at three different times, the first a fortnight or more before it is ripe, the second a week or ten days after that, and the third when fully ripe. The first gathering will come into eating latest, and thus the season of the fruit may be considerably prolonged.