Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Ap'pear'antly, It Was a Good Year

Ap'pear'antly, it's a good year for fruit trees.

What is the secret to our success? Neglect.
(I'll bet you're never heard that recipe for success before. It's not something I normally recommend.)
The pear trees are in our side yard. Back in 2010, we had lots of pears, too, but they suddenly disappeared. I never solved that mystery.

I do think the deer and squirrels are visiting our buffet, but they'd have to invite all their friends from neighboring counties to get through all the pears.
If I had canning equipment, I might try my Grandma Neelly's Pear Honey recipe. It was a sweet combination of pears, pineapple and sugar and was one of my favorites on Grandma's table. I still might try freezing some.
Four generations: My mom, Janis Neelly Moore, my grandma Lela Johnson Neelly holding Jill Renee Fritzemeier, and me, a much younger version, on Jill's Baptism Day - December 1985
Yesterday, I searched online for fresh pear recipes. I even found a few that weren't for desserts.

The challenge with pears is to know when to pick them. I Googled that, too, and found a publication from Oregon State University Extension. (I love Extension.)
"To tell if a pear is mature, a general rule of thumb is that, while still on the tree, most mature, ready to ripen pears will usually detach when "tilted" to a horizontal position from their usual vertical hanging position. 
"Unlike apples, which are ready to eat from the day they are picked, pears must go through a series of changes before they can deliver their full splendor. Pears do not ripen on the tree to our liking. If allowed to tree-ripen, pears typically ripen from the inside out, so that the center is mushy by the time the outside flesh is ready."                        David Sugar, Oregon State University
Commercial growers refrigerate pears right after picking. So that's what we're trying. Our downstairs extra fridge is full of pears at the moment. We'll take a few out at a time to ripen on the kitchen counter.

On Sunday, we took a plastic tub of pears to church. For a contribution to Missions and Ministries, people could sack up pears to take home. This week, anyone who comes to the Stafford Food Bank can take home fresh pears.

If you have a family favorite pear recipe, please send it my way! 


  1. Thanks for the encouragement, Karla! I did think that I could borrow a canning kettle from church. We'll see whether I get it done before Granddaughter No. 2 arrives. Right now, the pears aren't ripe enough to use, but, hopefully, we picked them at the right time and they will ripen correctly. Thanks for the link to the Extension publication.

  2. I have a friend in Stafford that helped me with my first canning project (cherry jelly). Contact me through Facebook if you would like her name to help you through your first canning experience. Once you see how easy it is, you will have the confidence to can anything.

    Good luck!!

  3. I agree with the neglect. We have 2 apple trees and a nectarine. Last year we got nothing. This year they are loaded! All I did was water them. Growing up we had a pear and about a dozen different apple trees, we did nothing with them. Dad pruned them occasionally, but that's all.
    Your grandmothers pear recipe sounds delicious!

    1. We should do more pruning, etc. Last year, the fruit trees all got frozen. This year, the conditions must have been perfect. I've seen other people posting photos of peaches. We planted an apple tree when we moved here, but it didn't take. I would like to have the old-fashioned green apples like my grandparents had on their farm. My Grandma made the best green apple pie.

    2. Kim - I have a kettle and all the canning supplies you need! Just say the word! Tami

    3. Thanks, Tami! I'll see how the timing goes when the pears get ripe. I appreciate the offer, and I will let you know if I want to take you up on it.