Sunday, October 7, 2012

Autumn Harvest

The past week has been filled with more play than work while my mom and uncle were here for a visit. But during their visit we had our first frosty weather with night temperatures in the hight 20s. I forgot to harvest our last red tomatoes and when my mom and I went out one morning all we found were frozen marbles. We harvested them all and I promptly got to work on a batch of chili.

We have a pear tree on our property and we have been waiting for the fruit to ripen. We purchased the property after the tree had flowered so we didn't have time to thin the flowers so that the tree would produce less, but bigger, fruit. We ended up with a tree COVERED in tiny pears.

We heard that pear don't do the best here in our part of Montana because they take so long to ripen and the first frost comes early. Well, we had our first frost and I rushed out to make sure the pears hadn't frozen. They hadn't, thankfully, but they still aren't even close to ripe.

I decided to take the advice of an article from Oregon State University Extension Services about How to Ripen Pears. I learned so much about pears! According to the article pears don't ripen to our liking on the tree, if they ripen on the tree they develop a course and gritty texture. They ripen best off the tree, at cold temperatures. They recommended picking the pears and putting them in a paper bag with a ripe banana or apple.

I have decided to experiment. I picked a basket full of pears and did what the article recommended. There are still lots and lots of pears on the tree. In a week or so, I will go pick more (assuming they haven't frozen and rotted) and see if leaving them in the cold, with the autumn midday warm sun will make any difference in the ripening process. I am determined to make some Pear and Ginger preserves from the Canning for a New Generation book, so I really hope this works! Wish me luck!

1 comment:

Leah said...

Oh I'm so jealous of your pears and on your property!... we had a rough spring so a lot of our apples and pears in the area are not really available. Your canning inspires me too! We started canning this year and I love it but are not where at the level as you! Best of luck with your pears

I went to HS with Brian.. I'm not a stalker I promise but found your blog on his FB page and enjoy seeing what you guys are up to. I spent many summers and springs on Flathead Lake and love that area...