Friday, August 7, 2009

Pear Awareness

The pears have started to drop. It's a characteristic sound of high summer: the fulsome "plop" of fruit hitting the ground.

I don't know what kind of pears these are. We've always had a pretty laissez-faire attitude toward the tree and its crop. We don't irrigate, spray, mulch, weed, or fertilize. I did do a little bit of pruning one spring after a winter storm had broken off a branch, but that's about it.

Yet every August, like magic, the lovely blushing fruit appears. We pick up the fruit when it drops and bring some of it into the house. B. is much more conscientious about the care of dropped pears than I am. He keeps a close eye on them and knows when one has ripened to perfection. Fortunately, he's willing to share.

To be honest, each year a large percentage of the crop rots away quietly in the ivy, food for all kinds of critters.

But this year will be different! (Too bad, critters -- you'll have to make do with plums.)

I went searching in the great global library called the internet to find out if there were any tips for ripening pears properly. It turns out that they should NOT ripen on the tree. Amazing! We've been living in ignorance all these years. When you see the first dropped fruit, that's the signal to pick the whole crop and store it in a cool place to ripen slowly, or in a cold place to hold the crop until you are ready to ripen it.

There were five or six nicely shaped pears on the ground today, so I picked everything I could reach.

These will go in the garage for an experiment in slow ripening. Of course, there's a lot more left on the tree. Next step -- a ladder!

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