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.

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