Steemit Iron Chef 2017 #05 : Homestead Pear Sampler

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.

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Homestead 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.

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Bosc, Chojuro, Comice, and Korean Giant Pears

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.


Homestead Toppings

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.

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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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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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


Plant List

  • 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

Haphazard Homestead

foraging, gardening, nature, simple living close to the land

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My YouTube channel: Haphazard Homestead

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Dear i love the pears but your recipe sounds very great, here we only.eat the pears fresh never cooked or only in sweet, only cooked with sugar water and cinnabon.
But your recipe sounds great this combination with spices for prepared the desert, and
For me the most important is enjoy your desert with a cup of coffee, :) :) i loved to drink a cup of coffee special if it could enjoy with an amazing desert similar to you prepared here for us.
Here we have pear only in the supermarket and the species that we enjoy are bosh and red pears there are amazing varieties thank you for share with us your pear harvest we hope win the steem ironchef.
Best regard. @galberto

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haha -- that cup of coffee was perfect with the pears! It is amazing how many varieties of pears there are. I'm glad you have some in your region, too.

I just love seeing all the variety from your Homestead ... what a beauty of a sampler plate ! Love it !

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Thanks! I'm fortunate to have so much abundance here.

Do you like pears?
Only in recent years have I developed a liking for pears
Do you have a favorite pear variety?
Not yet, need to try more before I find a favorite
Do you grow pear trees?
I have no fruit trees
Which is your favorite on my Homestead Pear Sampler?
So difficult to say without tasting! But, if I had to choose one, I'd pick the Roasted Pear Sorbet.

Impressive spread! You are a true artist ☺

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I'm glad you enjoyed my sampler, especially since you are a recent fan of pears! That roasted pear sorbet is really good! I hope you get to explore the wide variety of pears out there and find a favorite. The Asian pears are generally more crisp and crunchy, and super sweet. The European pears that get soft are so sweet, too. But some people like a cruchy pear that's not too sweet. And if you try pears without the peel, you may like them better.

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I've tried a few varieties, but I have only eaten one that was really delicious. That pear was semi-soft and had a surprisingly floral sweetness that was delicate and unexpected. The only Asian pear I've eaten was very crisp, but mostly flavorless. I enjoyed learning how versatile pears can be through reading your post, nicely done.

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I hope you can find a source from some quality fresh-eating pears. Like the floral pear you had, there is some deliciousness out there.

We have two pear trees we planted about 3 years ago . They have not produced yet due to late frost the last 2 years. I'm not sure of there variety. I know them as winter pears. Usually don't pick till after they freeze. Your sampler looks delicious!

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Each kind of pear really does taste different. And having the wine-soaked dehydrated pear, the brandied pears, and the roasted pear sorbet made it special -- better than I expected, lol! That's neat about your pears being winter pears. I don't have any like that. They would make great end-of-season pears, holding till a freeze. Very nice! I hope you get some production next year!

That is an awesome variety of pears to be growing yourself - and the final dishes look delicious

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Thanks, @dber! There are so many good pears out there to grow. I've got my eye on a few more, lol. Pears are pretty carefree trees - much less effort than apples.

Great platter. It's cool that you grow such a large variety of pear types. Definitely inspiring. I think I need to plant some trees!

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I'm always surprised at how each pear really is different in taste, keeping quality, and season of harvest. Each one is special. If you find the right varieties for your region, I think pears are easier to grow well than apples - they don't have as many pests and most don't even want to be pruned!

9 varieties ... so amazing! Beautiful plating and love your comment, 'I am getting so fancy, lol.'! Ha! Seriously though, I'm impressed with the different pears and your paired garnishes. It's like a pear festival all on one plate!

Going to the market. Hoping they have lobster mushrooms. Will keep you posted.

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I"m decidedly not a fancy person, so this Steemit Iron Chef contest is a real stretch! Good luck on your lobster mushroom hunt at the market!

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Congratulations, woohoo! It was really beautiful entry and looked delicious!

I did get my lobster mushroom and have already eaten it. It was pricey but loved it. I took photos. Are you on steemit.chat?

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Thanks! And Yay on you finding a lobster mushroom -- even if it was pricey. They are free out in the woods, but it can take a lot longer to get one, lol. I'd like to see your photos, for sure!

I'm on the road until the weekend, so I'm won't be on Steemit.chat until I get home.

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Great, I will send you the photos. I’m traveling too so won’t probably get to it until a bit later. Chat with you soon!

What a beautiful platter my friend! Simply gorgeous! Each one has its own taste and matched perfectly with the garnish you put!
Your dishes are simple outstanding my friend, I was just wondering if you happen to have some wood logs on the homestead? These would be great to present your food my friend, you can try it some day. Your entry will be world class.

See examples below:

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That's an interesting idea! There's a lot of wood around here, that's for sure!

Hey there, never heard from ya! Left my phone# for you in a private message on our Slack chat!!

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Thanks! I'm glad we're headed to the Poultry Swap!

I think that your posts are always amazing and so full of information! I do love pears and am going to try to grow some here. We shall see.

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Thanks, @mariannewest! Just like your apples, you might have to find a pear variety that doesn't require a lot of chill-hours. I'm not so familiar with what varieties those might be. But pears that stay hard until they are picked, and then mature off the tree, like Comice or Bosc, have a lot fewer issues with pests, I think. It will be interesting to learn what you find out!

Excellent post @haphazard-hstead love Pears so much and learning from you ... You did great dear... Keep it up... Supporting with my upvote... And following for more...see at iron chef...

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Welcome and do find time to check my blog posts