Six pear varieties, all grown here on the homestead. Prepared 7 ways, with flowers and wild plants, of course! I am getting so fancy, lol. But even better, this is all so delicious! Come into my post to enjoy some special pears.
I grow 9 pear varieties here at Haphazard Homestead. I like every one, for different reasons. With that many pear varieties, I also preserve some, too. For this week's Steemit Iron Chef contest, I've made a platter that features six kinds of pears, prepared seven different ways. Of course, there are flowers and wild plants, too!
I'm starting with the pears that are ripe right now -- Chojuro Aisan pear, Korean Giant pear, Comice, and Bosc. The first two are crispy Asian pears. The last two, I harvest most of them earlier and store them in boxes for a couple months to develop their flavors. But I leave some on the tree to be sun-ripened. The tree-ripened pears don't store well, but they are tasty.
And I have some pears already preserved, too. I have so many canning jars full of dehydrated Bartlett pear slices. And I used more Bartletts to make well-aged Brandied Pears. And I have one last serving of Roasted Summer Pear Sorbet made from Bella di Giugno pears. It's the first variety that gets ripe here, way back at the end of June.
Each pear has its own flavor. So I wanted to complement their individual flavors with different toppings. Here's what I used, all grown here on the Homestead, starting from the English walnuts in the lower right and going clockwise. English walnuts. Rose-of-Sharon flowers. Smooth Sumac spice. Common Mallow seedpods with their vegatative covering removed. Fennel flowers. Spearmint leaves. Borage flowers. In the center, the berries from the Black Nightshade.
I toasted and glazed the English walnut with sugar. I pushed the sumac berries through a strainer, to get only the fine, lemony-tart red hairs for the sumac spice.
I boiled the Common Mallow seedpods in water until they produced a sticky paste. First I had to remove the old flower sepals surrounding the seedpod. I left those parts on the seedpods a couple weeks ago, when I used them for my Grilled Beets for the Steemit Iron Chef contest. That's because the plant flavor they add went well with the grilled beets. This time, I didn't want that vegetation flavor, so I cleaned off all the mallow seedpods. When the mallow seedpods and water were getting sticky, I added sugar and beat the mixture to make a sweet, sticky glaze. That's all the preparation I needed to do.
Then I just assembled my dessert platter. And poured a cup of coffee.
My Magnificent Pear Platter
I'll be straight with you. I don't think there's any better way to enjoy a pear than pulling a fully ripe Bartlett off the tree, warm from the September sun, removing the peel with my teeth, and then biting in, letting the juice run down my chin, right out there in the yard. Soft as butter, sweet as a tree-ripened mango, and with intense pear flavor. Those Bartletts define late summer for me.
But I was surprised at how delicious this Homestead Pear Sampler was! It was really neat to appreciate all the different pear flavors. I'll list what each pear is, starting with the pair of pears with the purple flowers, and going clockwise.
- Chojuro Asian pear with Rose-of-Sharon flowers. This light, crunchy,sweet pear has a butterscotch flavor. So the Rose-of-Sharon flowers didn't interfere with the Chojuro's flavor.
- Comice pear with Sumac Spice. This Comice, left on the tree to ripen, is soft and sweet. The lemon tartness of the sumac spice keeps this pear lively.
- Korean Giant pear with Mallow Seedpod glaze and Borage flowers.The Korean Giant is a sweet, crisp pear, but it can be a little dry. The Mallow seedpod glaze is just what it needs.
- Bartlett pear, dehydrated for storage. Then re-hydrated with red wine and placed on a smooth Tillamook cheese, and topped with a sugar-glazed English walnut. The wine, the cheese, a walnut, and a sweet, sweet Bartlett. So good!
- Bosc pear with fennel flowers. Left to ripen on the tree, this Bosc is soft, sweet, and juicy. The licorice-flavored fennel flowers give this pear a charge.
- Brandied Bartlett pears topped with Black Nightshade berries. The brandied pears are so sweet. The non-sweet nightshade berries are a good contrast.
- Roasted Summer Pear Sorbet with spearmint leaves. Slow-roasting these otherwise unremarkable pears really brings out a rich, carmelized flavor that's great frozen. The spearmint gives it just the right kick.
What Do You Think?
- Do you like pears?
- Do you have a favorite pear variety?
- Do you grow pear trees?
- Which is your favorite on my Homestead Pear Sampler?
I eat a lot of wild plants and show you how, because I believe that we can all have lives that are richer, more secure, more grounded, and more interesting by getting to know the plants and the land around us – in our yards, our parks, and our wild places.
I would like Steemit to be the premier site for Foraging on the Internet! If you have any thoughts about foraging, or experiences to share, write a post and be sure to use the Foraging tag. And check out the @foraging-trail to see curated quality posts about foraging. Happy Foraging!
Thanks @progressivechef for creating the Steemit Iron Chef contest series. I haven't been able to be on Steemit much lately, but I can't miss the contest series or I would miss out on my 1 point! ;D
- European Pears (Comice, Bosc, Bartlett, Bella di Giugno) - Pyrus communis
- Asian Pears (Chojuro, Korean Giant) - Pyrus pyrifolia
- Borage - Borago officinalis - flowers
- Common Mallow - Malva neglecta - unripe seedpods
- Smooth Sumac - Rhus glabra - red seedhairs
- Black Nightshade - Solanum nigrum - fully ripe berries
- Spearmint - Mentha spicata - leaves
- Fennel - Foeniculum vulgare- flowers
- Rose-of-Sharon - Hibiscus syriacus - flower petals
- English Walnut - Juglans regia - nuts