A Short History of the Pear


In collaboration with Philippe Mollé and the California Pear Council

Originally from the Middle East, the pear, fruit of the pear tree, grows wild in the temperate regions of Europe and western and central Asia, although its fruit is so small and bitter that it is barely suitable for making "poiré", a fermented drink similar to cider.

Grown 4,000 years ago, the pear was considered by Homer to be a “gift from the gods.” He encouraged his contemporaries to give special attention to the pear, advice that was evidently taken to heart, since from six known varieties, over fifty had developed by the time of the Roman Empire.

The knowledge of the Romans was handed down almost intact to the botanists and naturalists of the 17th century, and they in turn used successive grafting techniques to develop many hundreds of varieties!

Cooked pears were served as an accompaniment to meat until the 16th century. Then it was discovered that some varieties could even be eaten raw!

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