Duchesse d'Angouleme Pears
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Duchesse d’Angouleme pears are known to be particularly large in size. The shape tends to be irregular and bumpy, with a beautiful golden yellow skin sometimes covered with russet netting and some brown spotting. At its best, the flesh is buttery and melting, and the flavor is rich and unique, making this a worthwhile pear to try. The tree grows to about 15 feet and is very productive and vigorous. It produces fruits that are somewhat resistant to fireblight. Good pollinators for this variety are Conference and William’s pears.
Duchesse d’Angouleme pears are available in the fall.
The Duchesse d’Angouleme pear is an heirloom variety of Pyrus communis, originally from France as the name suggests. The Duchesse d’Angouleme is a good garden variety to grow since it bears regularly and is fairly hardy. The original Duchesse d’Angouleme pear was grown wild from a seed, so its parentage is unknown.
Pears are a nutritious choice of fruit, with plenty of fiber and Vitamin C. One medium pear has about 6 grams of fiber (25 percent of the daily recommended value) and 7 mg of Vitamin C (10 percent of the daily recommended value), which is important for cell growth and repair. Pears have few calories and no fat.
Duchesse d’Angouleme pears are primiarly a fresh eating variety. Eat them as is for a simple snack, or cut up and pair with cheeses such as sharp cheddar or blue cheese. Pairs match well with sweet ingredients like honey, nuts, and cinnamon, and meats like pork. Duchesse d’Angouleme pears will last up to three months or more in proper cool, dry storage.
Pears are a common part of French cuisine and agriculture. This fruit has been grown in France since the Renaissance, and have been bred by French growers over time for their juiciness and sweetness. Today, pears are the third most popular fruit in France in terms of consumption and production. France is a major world producer of pears.
The first Duchesse d’Angouleme pear tree grew from a seed in a French garden near Angers in the early 1800s. In 1808, a French nurseryman starting growing the variety, though he called in Poire des Eparannais. In 1820, he purportedly sent some of the fruit to the Duchesse d’Angouleme, along with a request to name the variety after her. She agreed, so the name was changed. In the late nineteenth century, Felix Gillet imported the Duchesse d’Angouleme pear to the US and began growing it in California. Homesteaders regularly grew the variety on their land in California. It is hardy to -20°C.