foraging in the city: wild pears!

eating wild pears
I was surprised to find this wild pear tree near a parking lot. Could these be asian pears?

Every fall I have a lot of fun with my urban foraging. Maybe chestnuts, quince fruit or figs. I always manage to find some delicious treasures. This year I found something new for me. A wild pear. Or at least that’s what we think they are.

They taste like a bitter Asian pear. And I couldn’t wait to do something with them. Just very quickly I peeled and chopped a few and cooked them down with some cinnamon, sugar and lemon peel. A simple preparation for a pear compote. I can tell you that you don’t want to eat too much of this by itself: it’s strong flavored and tart. But it’s an excellent addition to a cheese platter.

I didn’t know of too many people who would know what this fruit was. So I talked to Tom Patterson from Wild Purveyors about them. He was equally excited and I brought him some, as well as some of the pear compote. He loved them. We ate some of the compote with cheese. Tom suggested Hummingbird cheese from Doe Run Dairy in Chester County. It was a delicious combination. He traded me some wild pears that he had–larger and smoother than the ones I found–and the rest of the cheese for my wild pears and compote.

I think I’m going to have to go get some more. I have a few other preparations I want to do with these pears. Hopefully I’ll find more.

wild pears on the chopping block
A good haul of wild pears on my kitchen counter
pear peelings and scraps
I started with a big pile of pears, but after peeling and cleaning I had almost more scraps than edible fruit.

old fashioned

My favorite hard drinks are ones that some people consider “girly” drinks–or maybe worse, “old man” drinks–like a glass of bitters or an old fashioned. Hopefully people who saw Ryan Gosling mix an old fashioned in “Crazy Stupid Love” will treat this drink with a little more respect. But whether they do or not, I’ll still enjoy it.

Last Friday my wife and I went out for a drink after work. I think it might be the first time we’ve gone out for a drink since our daughters were born. We met at BRGR. My wife tried a gimlet made with Boyd and Blair local vodka, but of course I ordered an old fashioned. The woman tending bar made a great version of this classic drink. And a funny thing: she crushed the fruit. Most of the time people just put the cherry on top as a decoration, but she crushed it a little. And it was great. Not a complete reinterpretation of a classic, but a good application of the bartender’s craft. Good application of craft is one of my favorite things.

If you’re going out for a drink this weekend, I hope it’s a good one. As for me, I look forward to my next adult beverage. Maybe next year. 😉

Buen Provecho!