November 28, 2021
Pear (Pear, scientific name: Pyrus communis) is a plant of the Rosaceae genus Pyrus native to Europe and its fruits, also called pear. It is widely cultivated for food in Europe, North America, Australia, and all over the world including Japan.
The shape of the pear is almost spherical, while that of the pear is slightly longer and has a distorted and unique shape (bottle shape). Some varieties are relatively spherical, though not as much as Japanese, and conversely, they are vertically long. The pericarp varies from red to yellow to green, but most of the varieties cultivated in Japan are green and turn yellow when ripened (described later). In addition, there are many scratch-like brown spots called "rust" on the pericarp.
The taste of ripe fruits is mellow and sweet like sake, and the texture is mellow, without the crispy texture peculiar to Japanese pear. However, it is hard immediately after harvesting and has little sweetness. After a certain period of time for ripening, it ripens, the pericarp turns yellow and emits a strong aroma. In addition, the flesh becomes soft and can be eaten deliciously. This is because the starch contained in the fruit is decomposed into sugars such as fructose and glucose by the action of ethylene generated by ripening, and the gelation of pectin increases the sweetness and smoothness. The ripening can be delayed by cooling to about 10 ° C in a refrigerator or the like.
In Japan, early-maturing varieties such as Bartlett are harvested from late August to early September and are ready to eat in September, but many varieties such as La France are harvested from October to early November and are ready to eat. It will be November-December.
Like the Japanese pear, the old origin is China, but the one that has moved to the west (Europe) and differentiated is the Western pear. It was cultivated from ancient Greece in ancient times. The Roman Republic politician Cato the Elder describes six cultivars, and it is said that there were 40 cultivars during the imperial era, according to a survey by the historian Pliny the Elder. The pear at that time was eaten raw or cooked, or processed into vinegar or sake depending on the variety. The pear was spread throughout Europe by the Romans, and the number of cultivars reached 60. With the fall of the Roman Empire, there were six varieties left in medieval Europe, but they gradually revived, and in the 16th century nearly 500 varieties were cultivated. In modern times, cultivars are limited to about 10 varieties in order to systematically distribute commercially powerful varieties, and other varieties tend to be forgotten.
It was introduced in Japan at the beginning of the Meiji era, but because the climate of Japan is not very suitable, it has settled in only a few regions such as Yamagata prefecture, and is now cultivated in cold regions such as the Tohoku region and Shinetsu region. .. Since the appearance is uneven, it was in the latter half of the Showa period that it became edible in earnest. It was only in recent years that it became possible to eat raw food outside the production area, and it was mainly produced for processing until the 1970s and 1980s.
Cultivars in Japan
The number of varieties is very large, and 2900 varieties are introduced in Hedrick's "The Pears of New York" (1921). Currently, it is estimated that there are about 4000 varieties, but only about 20 varieties are cultivated in Japan, including rare ones.
It accounts for about 70% of the production volume and is a representative of pear in Japan. The harvest time is