Pear and Wine Festival continues to grow in Hood River

The rhyme is a new slogan of the Northwest Pear Bureau, the name sponsor of the Pear and Wine Festival.

It’s a catch phrase intended to capture new consumers, said Ed Matthews of Duckwall-Pooley Fruit, who helped at the bureau’s booth, passing out pear samples and answering questions about selecting, buying, and eating pears.

Most consumers squeeze pears in the middle to test ripeness, but the best way is to gentle press the neck, Matthews said. If it yields to pressure, it’s ready to eat.

Janet Kinefsky of the Pear Bureau held out Anjou pears and invited people to try a ripe pear.

Judy Neece of Oregon City listened to Kinefsky, pressed an Anjou and ate a juicy slice, and said, “That is delicious!”

“I learned something today,” Neece said. “How to pick out a good pear.”

For the festival, that kind of education meant mission accomplished.

***

According to the Pear Bureau, many varieties of pears are grown in Oregon. Bartlett, Bosc, and Seckel are good varieties to preserve; however, Anjou, Comice, Nelis and Forelle may also be preserved, depending on the end product.

Here are some pointers:

* It is important to harvest pears at the correct time. Pick them when they are mature in size but not yet fully ripe. If picked too soon, they will shrivel in storage and will lack in flavor. If picked when over-mature, they will be coarse in texture, very soft, and often rotten on the inside.

* Commercial orchards use a pressure tester to tell when pears are ready to pick. Winter pears such as Anjou, Comice and Bosc will need a period of cool storage (35-40 Fahrenheit) to ripen correctly (Anjou, 45-60 days; Bosc, 45 days; Comice, 30 days). Pears purchased from commercial packing houses should be ready to ripen.

Picked pears should be ripened in a cool place (60-70 F). Not all pears will ripen at the same time, but inspect them daily.

Pears are ripe when the ground color changes, then flesh near the stem end yields to gentle pressure and there is a pear “smell.” Use immediately or store in the refrigerator until ready to use.

* Pears to be canned should be firmer than for eating fresh. Very soft pears can be used in fruit butters, fruit leathers or pear sauce.

* Each pear variety has an identifiable shape, color, and unique flavor of its own. Each can be appreciated for its particular character and taste. Many of the common varieties are also available with red skins which does not change the flavor, but just contribute to eye appeal.

* Pears are best canned, dried, and made into butters. They also make good relishes and chutneys. Freezing fresh pears is generally not recommended; cooked pears can be frozen with limited success.

For more information, go to www.usapears.com/trade

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge



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