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Copyright:  Mike Sillett


1. Intro
2. Materials
3. Kitchen Equipment
4. Procedure

photo of approximately two dozen wild pears ready for washing and peeling

1. Intro

If you like to forage for wild food than running across a wild pear tree is great. And if you are a pear lover than it becomes a real bonus to know where these treasured trees are so you can check them out each year.
The trees, and especially the fruit in most cases, are not a pretty sights. They are definitely not like the pears you find at your local fruit stand or the grocery store. However, the taste is what we are after when foraging. And these wild pears are not lacking in that quality.

Wild pears are usually harder than a witches heart so they will need to be cooked to softness to be a treat.

Foraging wild edibles by itself is one fun aspect. Doing it with family and/or friends, whether in the field or forest, or in the kitchen for final preparation, adds to that enjoyment.
The fact that the fruit is free is also great. Getting something for nothing appeals to almost everyone and knowing that makes the product you prepared even more satisfying.

Wild pear trees are not overabundant in my neck of the woods, southwestern Pa., so when I find a tree it gets logged into my foraging journal. Over the years I have accumulated enough locations of various edibles that my journal is like having my own blueberry patch, apple orchard, vineyard and garden. You can do the same.

2. Materials

As many wild pears as you can or want to gather.

photo of approximately two dozen wild pears ready for washing and peeling

Here are about 2 dozen wild pears ready to be peeled.

3. Kitchen Equipment

A large pot,
A couple of bowls,
A measuring cup,
A wooden spoon,
A potato peeler,
A large knife with sturdy blade,
A smaller knife with flexible blade,
A cutting board


A brief rinsing of the pears is all that is needed at the initial stage. You will wash them after they are all peeled.

photo of wild pears being peeled

Peeling the pears.

After they are all peeled put them in a pot and wash them real good.

photo of wild pears that have been peeled and ready for washing.

Pears peeled and ready for washing.

After washing it's time to quarter the pears. Although it seems straightforward, the quartering, it's pretty important.
It's a good idea to make sure that the quartered pieces are pretty close to the same size so that when the simmering is done all the quartered pieces get done to about the same consistency.
If some are overly big when quartered the simmering process will not get the thicker ones at the correct softness when the other consistent smaller pieces are done already. If you keep simmering the pot to get the bigger pieces soft you will get the smaller pieces overdone.

SO, take your time when quartering.

photo of wild pears being quartered

Wild pears being quartered.

Now it's time to remove the cores and seeds.
Save the seeds. They are probably heirloom type seeds and if thrown in a favorable habitat you could get other pear trees growing. Decide on a place in the country where you can spread them around and make note of it somewhere.

photo of wild pears being cored

Wild pears being cored.

When done the pear quarters should look something like this. The thicknesses of the pieces are pretty consistent.

photo of wild pears that have been cored.

A wild pear that has been quartered and cored.

After each pear is quartered and cored drop the pieces into a pot of clean water that has some ReaLemon in it to keep the color fresh.
A couple of good squirts will do.
For now the amount of water in the pot is not important. Just make sure you keep enough in the pot so the pieces of pear you add to it will remain covered.
You will adjust the water level after all the quartered pieces have been cored and added to the pot.

photo of quartered and cored wild pears added to pot that has ReaLemon in it to preserve color.

Wild pear that have been quartered and cored and dropped into a pot of water that has ReaLemon in it to preserve color.

Now it's time to simmer.
Adjust the water level in the pot so that it just covers all the pieces.
Add sugar to the pot to help in the syrup preparation after the pears are done simmering.
I add enough sugar to make the water taste sweet. The amount of sugar to add will depend on individual preference and the tartness of the pears that you start with. I usually start with a cup of sugar per pot and adjust the amount during the simmering process.

photo of wild pears ready to simmer. Sugar being added in preparation for the syrup.

Sugar being added to pot of pears in water.
The sugar will be one of the steps in making the syrup after the pears have been simmered to the proper consistency.

You want to simmer these nice and slow. No boiling. Just hot enough that you can see that the water is bubbling in little frothy bubbles.
Keep this simmer going until you can stick a knife blade into the pear quarter easily. Check several this way to be certain that they are soft. It's sort of like the consistency you aim for when cooking potatoes for making mashed potatoes.
Don't over simmer.

photo of wild pears simmering in sugared water.

Wild pears simmering in sugared water.

As the pear pieces are done to the desired consistency remove them from the simmering pot and put them in a bowl. Soon you will have them all together in that bowl because the quartered pieces should have all been pretty close to the same size.
However, if there are a few bigger pieces in the pot let them simmer until they are done.

You will want to have syrup to put the pear pieces into so the liquid in the pot you simmered them in will now be boiled down to reduce the liquid to a syrup consistency.
A slow and steady boil will reduce it pretty quickly. Keep checking the consistency and the sweetness until you get it just as you want it.
It's almost like making jelly at this point. The only thing not in the liquid is the pectin you usually add. Just keep a slow boil going until it appears syrupy. There's really no other way to say it.

photo of sugared water slowly boiling which reduces the liquid until a syrupy state is obtained.

Sugared water is being reduced until a syrupy state is obtained.

Add the syrup to the bowls/containers of pear quarters and sprinkle a little cinnamon on top ( optional ).
Put on the lids and let cool in refridgerator.

With the small amount used in this tutorial they won't last but a couple of days. They are great in cereal, a stand alone snack or as an after supper desert.

photo of wild pears all done and soaking in their sugared syrup - cinnamon added.

Two containers of wild pear quaters in heavy syrup.

Wild Pear Quarters

I sell Red Crabapples in 5 pound lots during the season.
That would be near mid September to October. Click naturespickings or on that link from other pages on my site to check on availability.

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