[Sca-cooks] Period pear varieties?
Stefan li Rous
StefanliRous at austin.rr.com
Sun Nov 2 17:19:35 PST 2008
<<< 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
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
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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