Sunday, 12 September 2010

A bowl of pears and a punnet of blueberries

Abundance is not a word that I often associate with what I grow in my 15x35ft garden. I squeeze in what I can and I kind of like our micro-harvests. But this year, I am proud to announce the arrival of a bowlful of pears.
There have been three barren years leading up to this momentous event - one fruit the first year, then a few promising small fruits in the second year were abducted by the neighbourhood squirrel. So I am quite surprised that this year they have made it through a season and look and taste like real pears. And there has been such a good turnout of fruit that I have quite profligately left two to rot - I missed their falling, so the wasps had already started to attack them. The question is what to do with the rest of them? 22 in total, to be precise - which I think qualifies as a bumper crop.
They need to ripen a little off the tree, and will store for a month or so in a cool dark place, but I can't get the image of a pear tarte tatin out of my mind. Pears poached in red wine are also a favourite pudding. But I'd like to try preserving some - I remember my grandmother preserving peaches in Italy and I'm sure the same alcoholic method can be applied to pears. I found some good, if slightly cursory recipes here, but I'd love any tried-and-tested suggestions.
The almost-a-punnet's worth of blueberries is a much easier proposition - blueberry pancakes. No contest.


  1. I don't like pears but I would, nevertheless, be thrilled if I grew twenty-two fruits and would definitely call it a bumper harvest.

    I too have a small garden and have been excited by how many bunches of grapes there are on my vine this year. Trouble is, a black mould has arrived on some of them and I doubt if any will ripen. Heat and rain have not come at convenient times!

    Esther Montgomery

  2. A bumper harvest indeed, very nice! I love pears, so much that we planted four different varieties here this spring, but it will be a few years before they yield much fruit. I haven't tried preserving them, as most in my kitchen find their way into a 'torte di pere alla paesana', or poached in red wine and served over a salad.

  3. Hi Esther - you might be able to save some bunches by removing the afflicted grapes. But next year try spraying regularly with bordeaux mixture - it's what they use in vineyards.
    And Curbstone Valley - I'm liking the sound of your 'torta di pere...'. Can you share the recipe?

  4. Thanks for the grape advice. I've been wondering whether to take away affected bunches. Seems sad - but is that what I should do? Are they edible if washed?