Pear crop

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

We had a little pear tree, nothing did it bear...
I haven't made mention of the 'orchard' patch in terms of the trees on the blog mostly due to having reaped virtually nothing off them. Their original site was the main plot but once we took on the extra half they were dug up and moved, so we lost a year while they were settling. A few years ago we had very hard frosts while they were in blossom. I remember is trying to wrap them in fleece which not only didn't keep them warm but knocked off a fair amount of blossom in the process. The years we have grown fruit it either fell off, got eaten or never amounted to more than a handful. The cherry tree produced enough for one jar of jam last year.

However, this year we were shocked to see so many pears on our little pear tree. The other pears being devoid of any fruit, of course. I assumed many would fall off in due course as the season progressed, but no! About 6 weeks ago I decided to take one off the tree which did have a glimmer of pink and give it a try. Ok, so it was quite a 'firm' eat, not juicy but had a lovely flavour. I took around a dozen off over the next week to give away and eat myself. Since doing that I was told that pears don't ripen on the tree and need to be picked and stored to ripen. Now you tell me!!!
The weather had other ideas and the hoolie that blew in, you guessed it, knocked all the pears off bar a couple, leaving them in a heap around the tree. Of course, I was dismayed at the prospect of all the fruit going to waste so we gathered them up in a big trug bucket. Aside from maybe 5 which weren't going to make it, the rest seemed absolutely fine, I suppose the short fall onto a soft surface hadn't hurt them. Even so, I was concerned that any mild bruising might lead to the fruit rotting so we pondered what to do with an enormous bucket of potentially damaged pears.
Being a pudding glutton I was keen to make a pear sponge. I did find a recipe which sounded pleasant again on Delicious Magazine which I already had all the ingredients I wanted - always a winner. The ground almonds were previously used by C for his horrible healthy cookies and had sat opened but unused for months so I was doing a good thing by setting about using more of them up. I've made a big thing of my journey to try eating more nuts even though they are not something I enjoy at all. Anyway, ground almonds are a fairly innocuous way of consuming a nut portion especially as the crunch and texture of nuts is a significant part of the reason I don't like them. I did make this sponge three times in total though the last time was with a lovely little pear which lingered sadly in the fruit bowl with two surplus bramleys. I didn't change the recipe at all except for I didn't use the lemon juice on the fruit, just chopped it quick, added a spoonful of water and a little sugar. One time I chopped up a stem ginger ball and added some of the ginger syrup to the fruit which added a lovely wintery warmth. I didn't add the rosewater or almond extract as I don't have any but I wasn't after an especially almond taste.
The main thing we did with the fruit was to 'can' it in jars. A while ago, C bought a canning machine which basically looks like a big slow cooker. Apparently 'canning' relates to the process rather than the vessel. He had intentions of ale brewing but safe to say that's not happened in there as yet. We squirrel away all jars, bottles and glass containers in boxes, ready for such occasions as this but even our stock wasn't going to cope with this alone so we did buy some nice tall jars from Wilko to go with our mostly mayonnaise jars. The pears were peeled, cored and quartered-ish. C made a different syrup on each occasion, one was lightly spiced and the other was vanilla spiced. We had put a used vanilla pod in a kilner of sugar which resulted in a lot of highly scented sugar - this recipe put some of it to use, finally!
Pears were plopped to jars and filled with syrup then left to bubble away in the canning machine.
Unsure how they were going to turn out I opened a small jar a week later to test for whether they were edible or pleasant; it's no good giving away anything that's no good to eat. We'd forgotten to label soon enough so they're all pot luck on flavour. The pears were absolute heaven. Soft and tasty, sweet and utterly delicious. They will last a long time too so we can keep a few, while giving away some too.

We have ideas about being able to can more things in a similar way next year too.

Take care,

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