This year’s Seckel Pear crop is finally ready at Norm Lehne Garden & Orchards (Roseburg), and if you’ve never had a Seckel Pear, you’re in for a pleasant surprise!
Seckel Pears are very small in size (the largest ones are about the size of a small lemon!) and are tear-drop shaped with a wide, round body. These bite-sized pears have smooth, thin, olive green skin, with creamy, white to ivory flesh that is dense, moist, and coarser than other pears. When ripe, Seckel Pears are crisp and juicy, and possess the sweetest flavor profile of all the pear varieties. (Note: Seckel pears will turn yellow, but by that time, they’re usually overripe. They’re best eaten while they’re still green, when there’s a slight “give” at the neck – see below.) Lehne’s grows all their fruit using IPM practices.
Seckel Pears – believed to be a hybrid cross of an Asian pear and a European pear – are also known as Sugar pears and Candy pears, and are regarded as one of the only true American varieties commercially cultivated today. They were discovered in Pennsylvania as a chance seedling and were cultivated for their compact size.
Did you know, you can tell when ANY pear is ripe – whether it changes color like or not – by how much “give” there is around the stem of the pear. The more give around the stem (at the “neck” so to speak), the riper it is. Pears ripen from the inside-out, so by the time a pear is soft around the middle, it’s likely rotten on the inside. Since the neck of a pear is the first place to get soft, checking for ripeness here guarantees that you won’t bite into a rotten pear. Remember this catchy saying – “Check the Neck” – and you’ll always know when your pears are ready to eat!