In Old World folklore, planting a pear tree was a living good-luck charm.
Our lovely little peach tree was planted eight years ago on the exact spot where my daughter and son in law stood to exchange their wedding vows. It's a Kieffer pear (originated near Philadelphia in 1863), the only pear tree in our orchard. Because it is special to us, we have enjoyed watching it's slow and steady growth with patience and anticipation. We were not disappointed. This year, for the first time, our pear tree was was loaded with fruit!
The Kieffer Pear is considered a self fertile, hearty, heirloom pear tree that seems to have lots of mixed reviews. After a little first hand experience, I can honesty tell you that I also was a little confused about how and when to harvest this little jewel of a tree!
As September rolled around, the little pears had turned into lovely big fat pears. Their color was a beautiful spotted golden-green. We watched and waited until the middle of October for the pears to turn yellow and soften into that delicate, buttery eating stage ... but they just never did!
After a little research, I think I totally understand this pear! First, I went back through my files and read the description for the tree, "large, yellow skinned fruit with dull red blush. Crisp, juicy white flesh with coarse texture. Great for canning and baking. Hardy, vigorous tree, tolerates hot climates and is a heavy producer".
This tells me it's a CRISP pear and it's good for canning and baking. It says nothing about eating!
The kieffer Pear is considered an Oriental pear. Think... crunchy like an apple, only with a coarse texture. When picked green and refrigerated this pear will keep for weeks. When you're ready to use, ripen in a brown bag.
Now that we know what to expect from our long awaited peaches, they are best pickled, baked, poached, thinly sliced for salads or with a little cheese, the Kieffer pears are worth the wait. They are loaded with a high potassium and fiber content, making it a very healthy fruit!
Our pears were turned into pear sauce, using this recipe, pear muffins, using this recipe. My daughter, Cait, turned the pears into a new favorite, Pear Clafoutis posted on her site here!
In the spring, the tree is covered with beautiful white blossoms!