European pear tree, favorite for canning?

fruitmaven_wiz5(5)September 10, 2012

I planted many fruit trees and bushes this spring, and discovered this fall that my husband loves canned pears. "You planted a pear tree, right?" No, in fact, I did not plant a European pear tree. We were lucky enough to get some unknown variety of pears from a friend's 20' high, 30 year old tree. They were ok for this year. But as I'm planning ahead for spring, I'd like advice on people's favorite varieties, especially if you like to can the pears. Thanks!

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I had 3 pear trees here in SE WI. One died (Honeysweet) this year. My bartlett is great for canning. Decent sized fruit and good flavor. This year no fruit due to frost (sad as now I will have to buy Del Monte canned pears).

Pears do need cross pollination so you will need another variety too. Bartlett is fine here in SE WI but I will not
suggest it for the northern 2/3 of the state due to winter
temperatures. I have canned lots of different pears over the years (some free from whomever had a good crop). I like them all when canned.

I think the big issue is to avoid small fruiting pears (seckel, honeysweet ect) as it would take more time peeling
and coring small fruit. Average sized pear varieties will
be faster to prepare for canning.

My pollinator for my bartlett is an extremely awful red skinned pear. It works as a pollinator tree but the fruits
are terrible despite their extreme beauty. It was there when I took the orchard over so not sure what variety it is. When I leave it too long on the tree, the fruit is rotten around the core. If I pick it when a firm-ripe stage and refrigerate it, the fruit ripens well but is
juicy and flavorless. At least the pigs enjoy eating them so they are not wasted.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2012 at 11:24AM
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We have Bradford pears as our street trees, and I've heard conflicting reports as to whether they'd pollinate European or Asian pear trees. I think it comes down to whether their bloom times overlap. It's impossible to tell without buying the trees and waiting to see when they bloom.
That is a good reminder about the size of the pears, we got tired of peeling the tiny free pears (our friends couldn't thin their tree, due to its size, and the drought made the pers rather small as well.). So, canning pears with the skin on works fairly well and still tastes good.
I think my plan is to buy two pear trees in the spring, and take out a crabapple or some arborvitae to make room in my yard! I'm almost certainly going to espalier them.
I'd love to hear other varietal recommendations!

    Bookmark   September 12, 2012 at 3:07PM
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Noogy(6 sw mi)

We collected #2 bosc pears from the ground and what was left on the trees after the pickers went through. We set aside the really nice ones in the fridge, set out to ripen the small ones and made pear sauce out of the rest. We peel them with a potato peeler when ripe but firm and they turned out awesome! No sugar added when sauced, due to the ripeness factor.
I'd recommend Bosc if it wasn't so disease prone.
There are some that don't can well, but my experience is limited to bosc's and bartlets.
My 2 children, 9 and 6 can polish off a quart in one sitting!

    Bookmark   September 12, 2012 at 3:49PM
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alexander3_gw(6 Pennsylvania)

I've heard that Kieffer is good for canning, since it's so firm.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2012 at 6:39PM
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It's about the only thing Kieffer is good for. But even canned, it's still gritty.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2012 at 9:45PM
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We had many wonderful canned pears from a tree of unknown variety at our former residence in Oshkosh, WI, so I planted a couple pear trees here at our present home in Hudson, WI, in 2006. One tree died, so I also planted a Luscious, Summersweet, and Flemish Beauty in 2008. Finally this year my Clapps Favorite Dwarf tree bore three pears, one of which I ate, and the other two the squirrels ate, so don't start smacking your lips too soon for home-grown pears! Your kids may be in college before you see any pears on your trees. I must add that store-bought fresh pears don't even begin to compare to home-grown ones dripping in sweet juice. Northwoodswis

    Bookmark   September 13, 2012 at 3:47PM
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Northwoodswis, I always love to read your posts since you've already tried a lot of interesting trees. I went to college in RF, so I know Hudson fairly well. Since my oldest just started kindergarten this year, I hope I'll get a few homegrown pears before he leaves for college! Did you plant dwarf trees, or are they standard size? I was looking at pears on OHxF333 or OHxF97.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2012 at 4:00PM
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There have, for years(decades?), been rumors that many tons of Keiffer pears have left the country and returned in cans labeled "Bartlett"; Bartlett is presumed to be Keiffer's pollen parent, though I'm not certain anyone has done genetic testing to determine whether or not that is the case.

While I'm not canning any, this year's favorite pear is Tsu Li - late ripening, with more of a traditional 'pear' shape than most Asians I've grown - a nice thin yellow peel, good flavor, and crisp, firm, non-gritty white flesh.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2012 at 5:05PM
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I asked the fruit expert at Jungs (since I live very close to a Jungs store) and they like the Jungs Hardy Wisconsin pear. It's a medium size, but apparently stays firm for canning. They recommended Karl's Favorite or Clapp's Favorite if I wanted a larger pear, though they might be less firm canned.

I'm a little surprised they didn't mention the Everbearing Colette. An excerpt from the description is, "No other pear surpasses it for canning.". It ripens over a long period, though, and is Bartlett-sized. Sounds tasty, anyway, "completely free of grit."

    Bookmark   September 14, 2012 at 3:44PM
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milehighgirl(CO USDA 5B/Sunset 2B)

I've been looking into pears a lot lately and I just had to share...the top rated pears according to the NCGR:

Here is a link that might be useful: PEAR accessions with code 8 ((1 = POOR, 9 = EXCELLENT)) for QUALITY

    Bookmark   September 14, 2012 at 11:14PM
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Being a rookie and of questionable intelligence(when it comes to gardening)...I planted two 3-n-1 pears:Bartlett, Moonglow, Keiffer...(from the local Home Depot) thoughts were that I may not pick the correct variety for the best results, but, I would probably be able to get some nice pears from one of the three two cents....

    Bookmark   September 15, 2012 at 3:36PM
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alan haigh

Every good eating pear I know cans well if jarred firm-ripe and I don't think that should be your first consideration.

I want a pear that ripens when you have the time and inclination for canning- for me that is later pears like Bosc, Dutchess and Harrow Sweet, all of which are also excellent eating pears that store pretty well.

Bosc is a pain at some sites, though, for reasons already mentioned. Easy growing is also important and the first two mentioned are that as are Bartlett, Seckel and Aurora in my Z6 southeastern NY.

You should be able to grow these varieties in Z5 so you don't have to stick with hardy varieties.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2012 at 4:15PM
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My first two pear trees that I planted were dwarves from Jungs. One of them (Colette's Everbearing) died, I think because my spouse got too close to it with brush killer liquid. The surviving Clapp's Favorite seems very tall for a dwarf, about 15 feet tall already, and is just bearing its first three pears this year. Then I read that dwarf trees aren't as drought resistant, so the next three varieties of pears I planted were standard size, since my orchard area is very sandy. I suppose when they ever start bearing I will wonder why I planted so many varieties. I have tried to stagger my harvest times, but one can only eat so many pears.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2012 at 6:44PM
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As a follow-up, I planted Jungs Hardy WI pear in spring of 2013, and it slowly died over the summer. Probably of pseudomonas from the cold, wet spring, but it could have been fireblight. So, I am once again searching for a European Pear tree, but focusing on disease resistance this time.

I have clay loam soil (somewhat compacted, since I'm in a suburb) and all my trees are within reach of the hose, so I don't care as much about drought resistance. I have limited space, so dwarf trees are very important for my yard.

I'm considering Harrow Delight, does anyone have experience with this variety?

This spring I also planted a 2N1 espalier pear tree with the varieties Orcas and Ubileen, but I don't expect a huge crop suitable for canning from a small espalier tree. However, it should supply some nice fresh eating pears and cross-pollination.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2013 at 9:47AM
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alan haigh

Harrow Delight is another great pear from the Harrow breeding station in Canada. Never had any foliage issues with it (scab, etc.) and it isn't attractive to psyla in my experience. Bears every single year here a crop of high quality (for so early) pears.

I just don't need pears in its season, which is mid to late Aug. here. Later pears such as Harrow Sweet produce a richer more fragrant pear and HS has all the before mentioned assets of Delight. But if your season is too short for HS then Harrow Delight probably will function there and produce similar fruit as H S does here.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2013 at 10:41AM
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With my limited experiece on Euro pears, Harrow Delight pears I bought from a farm last month, were quite small. My Harrow Sweet, still hanging on my tree, are bigger.

My Harrow Sweet, on OHxF 97, fruited in 2nd year. It has some pear blister mite, no serious disease issue (yet) this year. If size and speed of fruiting counts (and your zone is suitable), I'd choose HS over HD.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2013 at 2:11PM
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alan haigh

If a tree is healthy and thinned, Harrow Delight can get quite as large as anything I've seen in a supermarket (even those big old Boscs), but because it bears early it requires more thinning to get that size. This, at least, has been my observation over several seasons. Here commercial growers usually don't thin enough because it all has to be done by hand. You should see how small the Seckels are they usually sell. Mine are 3X the size.

I don't remember ever getting pears from a young Harrow Delight the way they appear on my 2nd year Harrow Sweets so my experience certainly is similar there.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2013 at 2:28PM
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olpea(zone 6 KS)

In the past I've found Harrow Delight a good pear. This year they were very good.

I agree Harrow Sweet is better. Mine are also still hanging on the tree but almost ready to pick.

My Harrow Delight doesn't produce very well, but the tree has been a slow grower and is still pretty small. Perhaps it's not in the best location.

I like having a pear which ripens in the peach season. It's a benefit to me because I like to have the early season pears.

It seems like Harrow Delight is a bit more sensitive to harvest timing. It's easy to pick them too early or too late. Maybe they move so fast because the ripen here in the hot part of the summer.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2013 at 2:36PM
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I am very happy with my Warren pear, in fact this is the only tree left in my fruit collections.My friends cannot get enough of this pear including myself, no grit,extremely juicy and excellent tasting, a winner for sure.And on top no spray needed.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2013 at 2:43PM
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Have just finished our pear harvest (Zone 5) and they're terrific.
We have some in store, canned a whole lot more, plus keeping some for eating. Best to can while firm, otherwise they go mushy in the jars.
In spite of having to hand pollinate we got a reasonable crop of Bartlett, Flemish beauty not so much. It has suffered with scab, but still produced enough.
No problems with winter chill, and generally healthy trees. Would recommend both varieties.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2013 at 3:53PM
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alan haigh

I also find that it is easy to wait too long to pick Harrow Delight and that it's probably because of being a summer ripening pear (same deal but more so with Tyson). Of course if I was more concerned about them I'd probably be more attentive- I think they start to change color here before they get over ripe.

Harrow Delight has grown well for me once it recovers from the transplant. OHXF strains seem to be a bit sluggish in plugging in. Cut back the spurs and favor the most vegetative wood and it should get going.

No pear I've grown is necessarily spray-free- at least here in the northeast. Pests can show up after many seasons and this has happened to me at many sites with pears.

At my own site E. pears now require more effort than any other fruit I grow, although I haven't tried to sort out which might require less effort. My Harrow Sweet with an Aurora graft gets no special treatment (inconvenient location for spray) and so far does well, but has only been bearing for two years.

The Warren pear has me intrigued although I've never grown it. I wonder why it isn't grown more. Does it take forever to come into bearing?

    Bookmark   September 21, 2013 at 6:43PM
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Yes, the Warren pear takes a few years to produce like mine, 8 years. You get a few after 5 years, than a dozen the following year and now 4 6gls containers.
I grew with T.O.Warren pear efforts in the 70's when he managed to created this excellent pear.
If you topwork or graft on a larger tree then you will get fruits sooner.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2013 at 12:58PM
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