Our FruitGuys softball team has a motto: “More runs than injuries.” Up until last week we hadn’t yet won a game, but we were wildly successful with our safety goals. Mom would be proud. This past week, when we finally won our first game in two seasons, I wasn’t sure if it was the result of a sudden alignment of the planets or the amazing four-person rundown between 2nd and 3rd in which we confused the other team so thoroughly that they sat stunned for the next two innings. Whatever the cause, we had reason to celebrate. And what better way to celebrate than with fresh apples!
This time of year is the beginning of the transition from baseball into football, summer vacations into school or work, and from stone fruit into fall pome fruits (apples and pears).
Apples and pears are coming into harvest now, with varieties arriving each week from farms in different regions. The varieties The FruitGuys provide change often, so I recommend that you check out your mix and region on our website or just click on the ladybug icon on our home page.
Pome fruits are close relatives of the rose family. For a more elaborate pome portrait, I’ll defer to the master of food journalism—Harold McGee. The following quote is from his book, On Food and Cooking: the Science and Lore of the Kitchen.
“The fleshy portion of a pome fruit is the greatly enlarged tip of the flower stem. The remains of the flower project from the bottom of the fruit, and the few small seeds are protected in a tough-walled core. Apples and their relatives are climacteric fruit and contain starch stores that can be turned into sugar after harvest”¦apples are generally sold ripe and keep best if immediately wrapped and refrigerated; pears are sold unripe and are best ripened at relatively cool room temperatures then refrigerated without close wrapping.”
Farmers pick apples pretty much ready to eat (this can vary a bit by variety and time of year—early apples sometimes need a day or two to ripen). As McGee notes, pears are picked hard and unripe. This is not by choice but by nature—to get a perfect pear you need to let it ripen off the tree. So if your pears are hard, know that is how they should be. Let them sit in a cool room, and when they give slightly to the touch, they’re ready to eat.
Enjoy & Be Fruitful!
—Chris Mittelstaedt firstname.lastname@example.org