© Denzil Green
Bartlett pear trees are self-pollinating (which means you don’t need two trees.) In fact, Bartlett is often used to cross-pollinate many other types of pear trees, even Asian pears. Like all pears, though, Bartlett pears can’t be left to ripen on the trees or they will go mealy. When harvested, they are graded and sorted, then either sent to be processed or shipped to the fresh fruit market. When Bartletts are shipped fresh, they are cooled to slow the ripening process. The consumer re-starts the ripening process by letting the pears stand at room temperature.
As of 2019, Bartlett was the top selling pear in the United States, with 37.4% of the market. M. Shahbandeh. Statista. Category share of pears sales in the United States in 2019, by type. 1 November 2019. Accessed June 2020 at https://www.statista.com/statistics/191395/fresh-pear-category-share-in-2011/
Bartletts are excellent for preserving, and in fact are one of the top choices of North America’s commercial canning market. Because of the speed at which they reach the processing plants, the canned pears will often have more of a pear flavour than the fresh ones do.
Bartlett pears come in yellow or red skinned varieties; both have virtually the same taste and the same soft, buttery, juicy, sweet texture.
Eating or cooking.
500 g / 1 pound Bartlett pears, unpeeled and whole = around 3 Bartletts depending on size (very large ones, 2)
500 g / 1 pound Bartlett pears, peeled, cored, stemmed = around 4 Bartlett pears that have been peeled, cored, stemmed
500 g Bartlett pear slices (peeled, cored and sliced to ½ cm / ¼ inch) = 4 cups
The Bartlett pear, also know as the Williams pear, was actually originally called the “Stairs Pear.” The variety was discovered in England in 1765 by a school teacher named Stair. A horticulturist named Williams championed the variety and introduced it to the rest of the country, and for some reason “Bon Chrétien” (meaning “good Christian”) was tacked onto this name, making the pear “Williams Bon Chrétien”.
At the very end of the 1700s, the Williams trees were imported into the US and planted on a farm in Roxbury, Massachusetts. The farm was eventually purchased by a man named Enoch Bartlett who, not knowing that the pears already had a name, promoted the variety under his own name. Only in 1828, when a fresh batch of Williams trees arrived from England, was it realized that the newly-named pears already had a name, but by then “Bartlett” had stuck in North America.
|↑1||M. Shahbandeh. Statista. Category share of pears sales in the United States in 2019, by type. 1 November 2019. Accessed June 2020 at https://www.statista.com/statistics/191395/fresh-pear-category-share-in-2011/|