AVAILABLE:As much as we may wish that Seckels were in season year round, sadly they are only available from October through February. You may want to mark your calendar!
ABOUT:Seckel Pears are small. So much so, that if you've ever seen one, you probably dismissed it, said it looks unsubstantial, decorative, or maybe just thought it a cute little novelty like a tiny salt and pepper shaker. If you've ever tasted one though, you'd remember it. The Seckel pear is believed to be the only truly American pear that is currently commercially grown. While it's history remains somewhat mysterious, the general consensus is that this delightful little pear is a hybrid of Asian and European pears. It gets its name from the Pennsylvanian farmer who discovered it around 1820, as a wild seedling rather than a European cultivar. I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “good things come in small packages”, nothing could be a more fitting description for the Seckel pear. These sweet, almost desert quality pears are pure joy in that first bite; the second and the third bites leave you only wanting more.
TASTE:Their petite size, thin skin and smooth juicy flesh make them the perfect afternoon snack, or garnish to your savory meal. Like most pears, the Seckel ripens fully after its been harvested. Set these tiny gems out on your countertop in a brown paper bag, and "Check the Neck" to determine ripeness. A perfectly ripe pear should yield a little under gentle thumb pressure around the base of the stem, while remaining firm around the middle fatter area of the fruit.
RECIPE:VANILLA POACHED SECKEL PEARS WITH HONEY & WARM SPICES:
- 10-12 seckel pears, washed
- 3 whole star anise
- 6 cloves
- 3 cinnamon sticks
- 1/2 cup of honey or more or less depending on how sweet you want the poaching liquid to be
- 1 vanilla bean, split seeds scraped out (save the pod!)
- Water to cover
- Place the whole pears in a stock pot and cover completely with filtered water.
- Add the spices, vanilla seeds and split vanilla pod and bring to a boil.
- Once at a boil reduce heat, stir in the honey and simmer until pears are very tender and the poaching liquid is very fragrant.
- About 30 minutes or so (I didn't time it....I just served it when the whole house started to smell like Christmas!)
- When the pears are tender remove from heat and spoon some poaching liquid and two or three pears into bowls and serve warm. Enjoy!
Recipe courtesy Roost Blog.