It’s a cozy cottage weekend-so won’t you stop for a visit at my inspiring cottage? A hot cup of tea and a fresh dessert of some sort always awaits you! Today is all about Pears and the harvest season. Our cottage came with a mini orchard (of which we will be adding to in the future) and one of my favorite trees in the yard is an old fashioned pear. I am doing a fun Fall Harvest contest in which you could win a prize, so be sure to read the whole article so you don’t miss it! In this article I will also be sharing tips on identifying pear trees , how to know when it’s time to harvest, storing pears, etc.
Have you ever smelled the sweet perfume of a bunch of ripe pears? Let me tell you, it is divine! I have not yet smelled pear blossoms in the Spring, but I hear that scent is amazing also. I am so looking forward to that experience. Let’s walk through my “Secret Garden” cottage gate and take the brick path out to the pear tree!
We only have one pear tree at present, but it is pretty large and bears a LOT of fruit. It is an old tree, from what I have learned (as many of the things are at this cottage..there is some history here). Here is a photo of what it looked like early in the summer when the pears were growing:
Here is what the pear tree looked like at the end of September (closer to harvest time):
I don’t know if you can tell how loaded the tree was this year from the photos, but the pears literally hung in clusters. As you can see by the branch at the right here, it was quite heavy from all the fruit, and was nearly touching the ground. I have never seen so many pears on one tree before (grant it, this is the first time in my life I have had an sort of fruit trees to tend 😉 ) . It has been such a bountiful Autumn!
Identifying Pear Trees and What Type Ours Is:
I have done so much research on pears to try to figure out what TYPE of pear tree we have. If you happen to stumble your way to this page with a similar question, maybe I can help. After the extensive research I have identified our pear tree as a Winter Nelis. There are many ways to identify a pear tree by observing them. If you have an unknown pear tree in your yard, take note of the size, shape, color, and when they become ripe.
I noticed our pears did not become ripe until October, so they are a Winter pear. I picked the first bunch of pears a little early (end of Sept.) and found out these didn’t become ripe enough to pick until about a week or 2 in to October this year. I was talking to a friend’s mother who has a pear tree, and hers became ripe in late summer (it was a Bartlett). Winter pears become ripe later in the season and can typically be stored all Winter long sometimes up until Feb. Other things I noticed about our pears that helped me identify them as a Winter Nelis is that they were smaller than pears I have seen at the grocery store. They aren’t known for their outer beauty. They tend to be short and squat with a medium sized stem. The neck of the pear is not very elongated (like that of a Bosc for example). They can be lumpy and bumpy even.
Another indicator was the color. Our pears are mostly shades of green (with the very ripe ones have a bit of yellow). Many of them have a russet over them. Some just had patches of russet and others were completely covered in the russet (a russet is a brownish tinted covering which you will see in the photos below). I actually thought this was a Bosc pear at first because of the russet, but it was missing other characteristics (such as shape and size) of a Bosc.
Origin/Random facts about Winter Nelis Pears:
They originally were raised by seed from Jean Charles Nelis, in Echlin, Belgium in the early 1800’s. They were then introduced to England by the London Horticultural Society. They were brought to America in 1823 (to Massachusetts) and a man named Robert Manning of Salem, Mass. then shared them with other parts of the country. They were popular to grow because of how well they can stand up to a late frost and for how long their fruit keeps.
I can tell you from experience that they are a very sweet , juicy, aromatic pear that also seems to hold up well in cooking! Delicious!! I have been enjoying eating them fresh and baking with them as well ( I will share some yummy pear recipes another cozy cottage weekend).
Tips on Knowing When It’s Time to Harvest Pears:
I learned that you do NOT want to pick pears when they are too ripe. They can become too grainy then. When they start to get really ripe they fall off the trees anyway, and you will lose a lot of pears. You want to pick them when they are still firm and greenish (I noticed the riper the Winter Nelis pears get, the more yellow comes on) but yet not too early to where they have not grown enough yet. When ripe enough for picking, the pears can pretty easily be lifted up and twisted slightly for the stem to break away from the tree. If you have to pull and yank , they are probably not ripe enough to pick.
The reason you pick pears before they are all the way ripe , is that pears are a fruit that need to finish ripening off the tree. Most all sources I researched said to put them in cold storage for 1-4 weeks (depending on pear type) to ripen them properly. Honestly for myself, I ripened some right on the counter and some in cold storage. I didn’t notice any difference in texture or flavor.
The ones I left out on the counter to ripen are ones I either wanted to eat right away or ones I wanted to can or bake with right away. Once left on the counter to ripen, they won’t last nearly as long in cold storage. I would say my pears took about a week or so to ripen on the counter, and after ripe they only kept a couple weeks in the refrigerator.
The pears I put in to cold storage (in my case a fridge) immediately are not spoiled a month later. They will keep in cold storage for quite a long time (a few months I hear) and when I am ready to use them I will just set them out on the counter for a few days again to ripen them. They won’t be fully sweet and juicy until ripened (so if you pears are super hard, and lacking juice and flavor they have not set out long enough). I found mine were ripe when the outside was firm yet, but I could easily stick my finger nail in near the top of the pear.
TIME FOR SOME FUN! FALL HARVEST CONTEST:
Thank you for stopping by my cozy cottage to learn about pears and see part of my mini orchard! Now, before you leave let’s play a game. I am having a contest to see who can guess how many pears Matt and I picked off our tree this year. This contest is for our Facebook community only, so you will need to go there if you want to enter.
How to Enter:
- Make sure you have “liked” the inspired community Facebook page. You can do that HERE if you haven’t yet.
- You get 1 guess as to how many pears we picked. You will need to leave that number on the Facebook page or as a comments on one of the Pear photos or Conversation Threads there. Please click this link to enter your guess in the comments: link:https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=475764752522014&set=a.328950960536728.70580.301523043279520&type=1
- OPTIONAL BONUS- You can earn 1 extra guess by sharing this on Facebook. All you have to do is share the game thread where you have entered your guess in the comments. The Facebook game thread (which includes the photo below in it) once again is :https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=475764752522014&set=a.328950960536728.70580.301523043279520&type=1
You will have a total of 2 chances to guess a number if you click “share”.
Whomever gets closest to the actual number we picked will be the winner! The winner will get a surprise package of Fall items mailed to them. You just never know what Autumn Inspired treats will be in there! I will tell you it includes CHOCOLATE , but I can’t spoil the whole secret. That is the fun of it all 🙂
**A little hint to help you. There are clues in this post to help you guess. Take note the size of the pears, and my descriptions of the tree. 😉 The total number of pears we picked, includes all of the pears you see in the photo above, plus 2 more buckets of the same size that are in cold storage.
Have fun! ~Rebekah