No Partridges But Lots of Pears
After hanging up the cabinets in my last post, I drove onto one of my parent's farms where an old pear tree stands in one corner, probably planted way before my time by a past owner of the farm. It is starting to show its age but as it has been nearly every year, it is absolutely loaded full of pears.
They aren't a fresh eating pear but more of a baking pear, I think. I have never seen one soft enough to eat without breaking teeth in the process. But while listening to a gardening program on public radio, I heard someone say that pears never ripen on trees and need to be picked and left to rest to fully ripen. Two weeks ago, I picked a couple pears and indeed they did get a bit softer but aren't sweet like an eating pear.
Several years ago, I had picked a bucket of those pears and pressure canned them in a light syrup to sweeten them up. The pressure can cooked them so they were soft and sweet but my kids just weren't into them and so I was slowly working my way through the jars. However, this past spring, my kids rediscovered them and quickly blew through the last of the canned pears and asked for more.
So two weeks after my pear ripening experiment, I stopped and picked three five-gallon buckets full of pears. As you can see in the picture below, which was taken after I filled my three buckets, picking was pretty easy and there are still a ton of pears left on that tree to pick. My three buckets are sitting in my garage ripening up and in a couple weeks, I'll spend a day canning pears for eating later this winter.