Species: communis (European), pyrifolia (Asian)
European Pears are long lived deciduous trees and are one of the easiest fruit trees to grow. They adapt to most soils, even heavy soils and are grown on the lean side. Some are self-pollinating so you don’t need a second tree, although most do need cross-pollination. They bloom later than peaches so usually safe from late frosts.
Asian Pears have fruits that are round and apple-like. Their taste is a very light citrus flavor. They are grown similarly to European pears.
Picking the right variety for your climate is the key to success as they each need a different amount of chill hours.
In the Landscape
Pear trees are a good choice for the backyard as they grow better in lawns than most fruit trees because you need to pick pears before they are ripe; hence they don’t make a mess from dropped fruit. Also, they have a showy white flower display in the spring that is very pretty, A mostly vertical tree with glossy green leaves.
The Asian pear grows more vigorously with a stronger leaf color which turns purplish red. They have beautiful pink to crimson showy flowers all along the branches which bud out before the leaves in the spring for a spectacular display. Asian pears have more heat tolerance and require less chill hours in general. Good for the South.
In the Kitchen
European pears are considered an exquisite choice for any dessert. Fresh ones are best, as canned tend to be bland. Harvest before ripe to avoid a gritty texture developing. Most commonly used poached in juice, wine or liqueur, matched up with ice cream and caramel sauce. They make for a sweet and light flavored tart or a fresh addition to salads.
Served as an appetizer, pair slices of pear with Camembert or Brie cheese and a drizzle of honey.