Saturday, August 16, 2008

California Seckel Pear

The seckel pear is a tiny pear with a chubby, round body, small neck and short stem. The skin is usually green but frequently exhibits a dark maroon blush that sometimes
covers the entire surface of the pear. Seckel pears are the smallest of all commercially grown pears. Sometimes called “sugar pears,” they are also the sweetest. Seckel pears are a great snack-sized fruit to be added to children’s lunch boxes or bags. They are also small enough to be canned whole. A small half seckel pear also makes an attractive plate garnish.

Seckel, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 1817

Seckel is an American pear distinct in type from any European variety. Living in Philadelphia, toward the close of the eighteenth century, Dutch Jacob was a well-known sportsman and cattle dealer. Every autumn, upon returning from his hunting excursions, he would give gifts of pears to his neighbors of exceedingly delicious flavor. The tree they were harvested from he kept secret. Dutch Jacob eventually purchased the land that this tree grew on near the Delaware River. He eventually sold the land to Mr. Seckel, who gave the pear his name and introduced it to the public. The Seckel ripens in October, it’s size is small. The skin is smooth, dull; color yellowish-brown, lightly marked with pale russet and often with a lively russet-red cheek; dots numerous, very small, russet or grayish; flesh white, with a faint tinge of yellow, slightly granular, melting, buttery, very juicy; sweet, with an exceedingly, rich, aromatic, spicy flavor; quality very good to best.

At the Slowfoodusa website they have a great article on Heirloom pears called Ark Of Taste

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