Pears may not have been the forbidden fruit, but good just the same

Published 12:00 am Monday, September 29, 2003

If the pear had been the forbidden fruit, Adam and Eve probably would still be running around the Garden of Eden in their birthday suits.

Almost no one wants to eat the fruit of the pear tree. People pass by but no one stops to pluck the tasty fruit. Each fall season, tons of pears rot beneath the heavily laden limbs of their parent tree.

Ruby Ryals grew up during the time when the pear tree was held in high esteem.

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"My grandmother had pear trees, apple tree and peach trees," she said. "She picked the fruit and canned it so the family could have fruit throughout the year."

Canned pears were a prized commodity, Ryals said. They were canned in halves and could be eaten plain or fancied up.

"People would make a tray of pear salad," she said. "Each pear half would have a blob of mayonnaise in the middle and topped with shredded cheese and a cherry. Some people still do that today, but they get the pears out of a can from the grocery store."

Ryals said some cooks liked to put food coloring in the pears - green for Christmas and pink for Easter. Canning was a way of life and the women of the house were very creative and inventive cooks.

Ryals said she's not sure what has caused the pear to fall from grace.

"I think the main thing is that people either don't have the time to put up fruit or don't want to take the time," she said. "Canning takes a lot of time and it's hard work. And, another thing is that people have more money to spend on food. Back years ago, people had to grow most of what they ate because they didn't have money to go out and buy things. So we made good use of what was available to us."

Because she grew up cooking and canning, Ryals developed a love for watching things grow and produce and a talent for taking that produce and turning it into some extra delicious in the kitchen.

Tarts, pies, preserves and relishes were made from the fruit orchards around the house. The sweetness the fruit brought to the kitchen table was reason enough make a fruit orchard a heavenly place.

Pear Pie

4 or 5 pears, sliced thin

4 or 5 slices of white bread, cut in small pieces. Do not trim edges.

Put on top of pears, 1 stick of margarine, melted

Mix with egg, 1 1/2 cup sugar and 2 tablespoons flour. Pour over bread and pears. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Bake at 350 degrees until brown.



4 cups peeled and chopped pears

4 cups sugar

1 (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple, undrained

1 (1 3/4-ounce) package powdered fruit pectin

Combine pears and sugar in a large saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until pears are tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Mash pears and stir in pineapple; bring to a boil. Stir in pectin and bring to a boil again. Spoon mixture into hot sterilized jars, leaving 1/8-inch headspace. Adjust lids; process in boiling water bath 5 minutes.

Mustard Pear Pickles

1 cup all-purpose flour

4 cups water

1 quart white vinegar

1 3/4 cups sugar

2 tablespoons salt

1 teaspoon turmeric

1 tablespoon celery seeds

1 tablespoon mustard seeds

2 quarts pears, peeled and chopped

2 cups chopped onion

7 green peppers, cut into small strips

Stir together flour and water. Combine flour mixture with next 6 ingredients in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer 4 minutes, stirring constantly.

Stuffed Pear Salad

1 3/4 cups pear juice

1 package raspberry gelatin

6 pear halves

1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries, partially thawed


1/3 cup mayonnaise


Heat juice; add gelatin. Stir until gelatin is completely dissolved. Pour 1/8-inch layer into a glass baking dish that has been rinsed with cold water. Chill until gelatin layer is firm. Place pears, with hollow side up on gelatin; fill hollows with raspberries. Carefully pour remaining gelatin over berries. Chill until firm. Cut in squares with stuffed pears in the center. Serve on lettuce with mayonnaise and whipped cream.

Lime-Pear Salad

1 large or 2 small packages cream cheese

1 small package lime gelatin

6 pears, cooked with sugar to taste, reserve juice

1/2 pint whipped cream

2 tablespoons cream

Dissolve gelatin in boiling pear juice. Mash cream cheese or soften it with cream; add to gelatin. Let cool. Mash half of the pears; dice the remaining half. Add pears and whipped cream. Refrigerate for several hours. Substitute 1 large can of pears for fresh pears.

Pear Cheese Salad

3 packages lime gelatin

1 large package cream cheese, crumbled

3 cups boiling water

5-6 pears cooked with sugar to taste

1 cup pecans, chopped

Mix gelatin and cream cheese together. Add boiling water. Blend with a rotary beater. Chill until thickened. Beat pears with a rotary beater.

Add pears and nuts to gelatin mixture. Chill. Substitute 1 large can pears for fresh pears.

Congealed Pear Salad

1 package lime gelatin

5-6 pears, cooked with sugar to taste

1 cup hot water

1 8-ounce package cream cheese

Juice of 1/2 lemon

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup pear juice

Dissolve gelatin in hot water. Beat cream cheese until it reaches the consistency of thick cream; add pears. Continue beating until pears are beaten into pieces. Add salt and lemon juice. Add gelatin and pear juice. May substitute 1 large can pears for fresh pears.

Pear -Avocado Salad

4 pears cooked, halved and chilled

2 avocados, peeled and halved

Candied ginger, diced


For each serving, arrange 2 pear halves and 1 avocado half on a lettuce leaf. Place 2 or 3 pieces of ginger in each piece of pear and avocado. Serve with Poppy Seed Dressing.

Pear Relish

8 quarts peeled, cored pears

5 green peppers

5 red peppers

3 hot peppers

5 large onions

5 cups cider vinegar

5 cups sugar

1 teaspoon salt

Grind pears through coarse food chopped and drip until excess juice is removed. Grid peppers and onions. Combine all ingredients; bring to a boil and boil 20 minutes. Fill containers and seal. Process in a water bath canner at 212 degrees for 10 minutes.

Pear Preserves

Wash. Peel and cut fruit into good size chunks. Cook with 1/2

cup sugar to 1 cup fruit. Wash and cut ends from 1 lemon, cut in half, and juice. Remove all seeds and put lemon hull and all in with fruit mixture. Cook over medium heat until fruit is transparent. Can immediately.

Pear Honey

1 pound ground pears

1 1/2 cups sugar

1/4 cup canned crushed pineapple

1 teaspoon lemon juice

Wash, peel and core fruit. Put pears through a food chopped, using coarse blade. Mix all ingredients and heat mixture, stirring thoroughly until sugar is dissolved. Boil mixture until it is thick and clear. Pack in hot standard canning jars. Adjust jar lids and bands. Process in boiling water bath canner at 212 degrees for 10 minutes.

Pear-Pineapple-Peach Curry

1 pound pears,

1 (20-ounce) can pineapple slices or chunks

1 (16-ounce) can peach halves

2 cups combine syrups from fruit

2 tablespoons onion, minced

1 tablespoon margarine

1 tablespoon cornstarch

2 teaspoons curry powder

1/8 teaspoon cardamon

1/8 teaspoon ginger

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon grated lemon peel

Peel pears slice and cook with sugar to sweeten. Drain pears, pineapple and peaches. Combine syrups and measure 2 cups; set aside for sauce. Saut\u00E9 onion in margarine until tender; add cornstarch, curry powder, cardamon and ginger. Gradually add combined syrups, cooking and stirring until smooth and thickened. Add lemon juice and peel, then fruits. Fruit may be left in halves or quartered. Simmer gently about 5 minutes or until fruit is heated through. Serve hot with meat or poultry.

Mock Dried Pears

1/2 bushel, don't peel

5 pounds sugar

1 cup vinegar

Cook until thick. Can or freeze.

Pear Conserve

1 orange

2 lemons

5 cups peeled, chopped pears

2 cups raisins

5 cups sugar

Run the orange and lemons through food grinder, using coarse knife. Combine ground fruit, chopped pears, raisins and sugar. Cook slowly until thick. Pour into hot sterilized jars and seal.