Product Name: Worcester Black Pear
Scientific Name: Pyrus spp
Country: UK (England) Region: Worcestershire
Appearance: Hard dark culinary pear
What makes the product special? It could be the longest cultivated variety of pear in existence, it has a rich historical association with the county.
Who cares about it? A few fruit enthusiasts and the odd chef / foodie type
Who still uses / eats it? Not enough people, it ceased commercial cultivation in maybe the 1950’s but trees can be found of it across the Herefordshire & Worcestershire
Is it hard to find? Why? As a fruit you won’t buy it anywhere but it is available to buy as a tree from a few nurseries and the fruit can be foraged from trees in various locations.
What factors make it at risk of being forgotten and / or extinct? People don’t cook pears enough and ignorance of how to use it is widespread, there is a perception they are rock hard and as such useless. Which if picked in October is true, but they should be stored into the new year and beyond when they soften and sweeten.
What does it taste like? (Home cook, producer and / or chef’s perspective) The traditional method of cooking was to bake them with red wine and cloves, slowly and for a long time. They work well in pies and crumbles mixed 50:50 with apple.
Where does it come from? That is very long story in itself its origin is unknown but it could go back to the Romans, something that we will never be able to prove, It belongs to a group of hard culinary pears that have come to be known as Warden pears. Warden Pears are first mentioned in 13th century monastic writings.
How is it grown, raised or produced? (Producer’s perspective) It was once grown commercially but not since the 1950’s in the 1990’s Worcestershire County Council ran an initiative in conjunction with Pershore College selling trees to counter fears they might be becoming endangered as a result several hundred have been planted over the last 25 years or so. Trees can now be bought from several nurseries.
Culinary Uses: It is a cooking pear and never ripens enough to be eaten as a dessert Fruit, so baking, puddings and pies would have been the traditional uses.