[Sca-cooks] Period pear varieties?

Stefan li Rous StefanliRous at austin.rr.com
Sun Nov 2 17:19:35 PST 2008

Talana asked:

<<< All the discussion of period apples has got me wondering about  
pears.  Here in Oklahoma, we only get Bartlett's (green and red),  
d'Anjou, and Bosc.  For the first time yesterday I found seckle  
(sp?), which were tiny and wonderfully sweet but with a bitterish  
skin.  Is this a period variety?  Are any period varieties of pears  
available in the U.S.?>>>

  You might want to look at these files in the FOOD-FRUITS section of  
the Florilegium:

fruit-pears-msg   (24K)  6/12/04    Period pears and pear recipes.
fruits-msg       (112K)  2/15/08    Medieval fruits and fruit dishes.  

The following is the section on pears from the following file. I  
thought you might find it useful, although it doesn't specify which,  
if any, of these varieties are still available:
Period-Fruit-art  (60K)  1/13/02    "Fruit of Period Times" by Baron
                                        Akim Yaroslavich.
Though more highly regarded than the apple in Classical and mediaeval  
times, the pear (Pyrus communis linnaeus) shares its origin in the  
same Caucasus regions of Asia minor. (31) Pliny listed 41 varieties  
(32) of pears of which only the Jargonelle, his Numidianum Groecum ,  
may be identified. The pear is named for Jargon, a city once known as  
Gergon, the name of which was corrupted from Groecum. (33)  
Jargonelles were yellow-green, flushed with gold and very tender.
Hastibeam (an early pear), Saint-Rieul, Bon Chrétieu (34) (today  
Williams) and Poire d'Angoisse (35) were popular mediaeval pears.
Other period pears include the Colmar or Bergamot (36) pear, a smooth- 
skinned, tender yellow-green and very juicy, very sweet pear. Belgian.
Brown Beurré wass a golden-russet pear or "butter pear" as its flesh  
seems to melt in the mouth as does butter. This variety was known as  
Isambart previous to 1608 apparently (37).
The Crassene (38) pear was an old variety in France when first  
mentioned in the 17th century. It was a particularly unattractive,  
dumpy fruit, green-skinned with russet dots, of the butter-fleshed  
type, sweet and perfumed.
Passe crasanne (39) was a common Italian cooking pear, broad, dull  
greenish-brown but of coarse texture.
The Caillou (40) pear of Burgundy was a very hard pear, mainly suited  
for cooking, extensively grown on the estates of Henry III.
Wardens (41) was the most commonly grown cooking pear of Tudor times.  
it originated at the Cistercian Monastery of Wardon in Bedfordshire.
Pears, unlike apples, will not air dry whole. Pears were preserved  
uncooked in honey (42) in Roman times. Fresh pears were also packed  
in sand in amphorae and placed in a cool place (43); the fresh fruit  
would keep often until March. Cider made from pears was called perry.  
Warden pears were an important ingredient in the making of  
chardequynce, a form of quince marmelade, eaten at the end of  
mediaeval feasts to ease the stomach (44).


THLord Stefan li Rous    Barony of Bryn Gwlad    Kingdom of Ansteorra
    Mark S. Harris           Austin, Texas           
StefanliRous at austin.rr.com
**** See Stefan's Florilegium files at:  http://www.florilegium.org ****

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