It’s pear season here on the Gulf Coast. My parents have a sand pear tree at their house in Fort Walton Beach, Florida that produces about 8 billion pears every year – the bad part being they are all ripe within one week of each other.
Perhaps that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but that’s the way it always seems. We wait, and wait, and wait, then . . . it’s a stampede to eat them all before they go bad.
Sand pears are a little bit different from other varieties. Click HERE to read more about them and to see what I did with last year’s crop.
This year, I decided to try a new recipe with pears. It’s an old North Florida recipe for chutney I’ve adjusted a bit over the years to fit our family’s tastes which run on the spicier side. This year, I had a few jalapeÃ±o peppers laying around that I had grown in my garden, so I chopped one up and threw it in, and it turned out to give it the perfect kick – along with the red pepper!
Gulf Coast Sand Pear Chutney
2lbs. sand pears, chopped
2 medium peaches, chopped
2 cups grape tomatoes, quartered
1 cup brown sugar
2 Tablespoon chopped fresh ginger
1 Tablespoon coarse salt
Â½ – 1 finely chopped jalapeÃ±o pepper
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Â¼ teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 Â½ cup apple cider
Combine all ingredients into a heavy pot. Stir and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a low simmer, and continue cooking for an hour, making sure to stir frequently until mixture becomes thickened.
The second recipe I’ve found for pears is something I’ve made before from the Junior League of Cobb-Marietta cookbook and it’s always a hit with company. If you use sand pears, they have to be fresh off the tree so they won’t fall apart since sand pears already have a high water content.
This version of poached pears comes from Real Simple Recipes .
- 1/2Â bottle (1 1/2 cups) red wine
- 1Â lemon
- 1Â navel orange, quartered
- 3/4Â cupÂ sugar
- 1/2Â vanilla bean, split, or 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1Â cinnamon stick
- 5Â cloves
- 4Â small ripe pears (any variety), peeled
- In a small saucepan, off the heat, combine the wine, the juice from the lemon and orange, 1 of the squeezed orange quarters, the sugar, vanilla, cinnamon stick, and cloves.
- Add the pears and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, turning the pears occasionally, until they’re easily pierced with the tip of a knife, about 25 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pears to individual plates.
- Remove and discard the orange quarter and spices. Return the liquid to a simmer and cook until syrupy and reduced by two-thirds, about 15 minutes, depending on size of pan. Spoon the sauce over the pears.
And now run pick those pears before the birds get them!