I have to agree with Clark. For the home gardener in SE Geogia, the pear is by far the best fruit for the beginner to try and grow followed by muscadines and figs. The absolute hardest thing about it is knowing which varieties to avoid and realizing that you have to ripen them inside or in the frig. I know of no other fruit tree that you can stick in the ground and forget about, and it will still be thriving and producing fruit 50 years later with no care at all, ever, except for occasional mowing around it to keep it from being strangled by vines and over topped by taller trees.
Pears certainly will always hsve a spot in my orchard. I only wish I knew 25 years ago what I know today. If the average person only knew how many wonderful varieties of pears there are the pear would be far more popular.
@clarkinks, we had some Maxine pears last year from the orchard we visited and really liked them. We canned about 7 quarts of them. My wife is a bigger pear fan than me, I don’t care for too much grit, and they hardly had any. They were firm and slightly sweet and had a good overall taste.
My question is which other pear varieties are there that share Maxine’s attributes?
I doubt that you would get a green apple belly ache from cooked green apples. How I prepare the pears is peal them and cut them up like potatoes and throw them in with a pot roast or pork roast with some unions and other vegetables. Or I would cut them up finer and put them in with some soup or a curry dish. When green they add kind of a sweet and sour note to whatever you are cooking.
During Roman and Medieval times pears were hard and not very palatable raw. They were mostly used for flavoring meats along with quince. There is a very interesting story in St. Augustin’s Confessions (Late 4th Century Roman North Africa) where Augustin confesses his joining with a gang of mischievous youths in raiding a pear orchard while the owner of the orchard was sleeping. In fact the boys did not eat the pears. They took them and pelted another farmer’s pigs with them, one again motivated by nothing but the sake of being mean.
He said that they did it not for the largely inedible pears but for the sheer meanness of the crime. Back in the day pears were put in dried meats, sausages and other similar dishes. An interesting note is that pepper was not readily available at the time, and in many places salt was very expensive. Typically savory foods were seasoned with cinnamon. In a world without potatoes or even tomatoes, pears was an important starchy “vegetable” and was also the “fruit vegetable” like the tomato is today. Although unlike the tomato they were probably never eaten raw. They probably were dried though. God bless.
I never gave pears a chance but I’m starting at a new place and will be planting a few. My only problem is don’t know which to get. I had a really good red Anjou from the store the other day. Bosch I bought could have been more ripe but was good. I’m sure you guys know of the best ones. I’m looking to plant 3.
My opinion is Potomac, Magness, Harrow Sweet, Harrow Delight etc. Are all good choices for fairly care free pears. The quality of these pears is good but the disease resistance is excellent. Consider Korean Giant and Drippin’ Honey as good Asian pears.
You are in Oklahoma, so assume that fire blight will be a challenge, but chilling hours shouldn’t be a problem for you. By reputation the fire blight resistant variety most like Anjou in flavor is Potomac. I’m going by reputation here. I haven’t had one. Anjou is a parent variety.
I don’t know of anyone with Golden Boy that far north. It’s a super reliable, highly productive soft low chill variety originally found at a homestead in Wasilla County Florida and made available to the public by Just Fruits and Exotics. For South Georgia and North Florida I would say it may be the surest bet. It reminds me of the Bartlett pears in the store, but it’s a little meatier. The flavor of Southern Bartlett might be a little better when its ripened in the refrigerator, but Golden Boy does not have to be ripened in the frig and it keeps a little longer.
Warren and Magness are very similar to each other and are both supposedly a lot like Comice, a super high quality variety that’s very susceptible to fire blight. Warren is supposedly a little more reliable further south, but the quality of Magness is supposedly slightly better; however, it’s pollen sterile and has a reputation for being slow to produce and not very productive when it does produce. As Clark commented, consider Asian pears as something quite different from the pears in the grocery stores. I don’t know anything about Dripping Honey, but Korean Giant has a good reputation for quality and fire blight resistance, and so does Shinko.
Clark has more experience with pears than I do, and his climate is probably closer to yours than mine is, so I would consider his advice with a lot of weight. Just remember, if you get Magness you need a third variety that blooms at the same time as Magness and it’s other pollination partner because Magness does not contribute any viable pollen to the little love triangle. God bless.
Yes Clark callery is a n aweful weedy tree here. Thanks KS for the ideas that helps a lot. One thing I’ll add is I need trees that won’t bloom too early also. Without fail we get right right now and everything wakes up only to be froze in March and April. A couple of my peaches are sweeping right now. 76 today and closer to 80 this weekend. I’m sure they will open quickly with those temps.
I’m grafting Red Rogue this year which is a gorgeous pear from what I’ve seen. Apparently a very delicious one too. It’s a cross of comice x seckel/farmingdale seedling that is a vibrant red in color. It may not be great for my area but time will tell.
I’m with you about the grit issue. I’m not a big pear fan either. My family likes pears but if I had my druthers I’d not have a pear tree in the orchard. I know there are a few non gritty pears out there but usually they are soft and mushy, another turn off for me. I may be destined not to eat pears. If you know of any non-gritty pears that are not mushy PLEASE let me know. I’d be more than willing to put one of those in the orchard.