Dried Pear Slices.
1 pear core saved from an extra scrumptious pear – must contain ripe seeds.
Several wheelbarrows full of well-made (preferably ritually enchanted) compost.
A quantity of weeds, straw and leaves.
Plenty of good quality water, conditioned with runes and charms of love and gratitude.
Sunshine, rain, frost, dew.
Lots of fairies.
Take a seed from a ripe pear and plant it in deep, fragrant, organically rich soil. Care for it for a few years, keeping it watered, fertilised and mulched, remembering to talk to it often, and sometimes play it music. Let children and pets play round it. Take time to take pleasure in its beauty. Soon it will begin to bear heavy, luscious crops.
On a golden late summer’s day, when you have eaten as many deliciously juicy pears as you can, and selected enough for a few bottles of perry, AND preserved a good supply of dessert fruits in their own delicious syrup for the winter, PLUS glaced some for gifts AND ALSO given a couple of boxfuls away to neighbours (or swapped them for a dressed goose or turkey) it’s time to pick the remaining fruit or gather them up from the ground, remembering to leave some for the fairies, and give the over-ripe ones to the chooks.
Find a clear sunny space where you can hear the birds singing and see the butterflies, bees and shiny beetles flying about, and thinly slice the pears lengthwise on a wooden board. You can scoop out the core if you like, but it’s not nasty and it’s very good for your gizzards.
Lay the slices just touching each other on a lightly oiled board about 3ft x 6ft. Protect from birds, kangaroos, and goats that break through fences. Expose to pure, radiant, golden sunshine, turning twice a day, until they are done. They will have absorbed enough of this potent, health-giving, extraterrestrial elixir after a day or two or three to a week, depending on the weather, the thickness of the slices and the variety of pear. They will be slightly leathery in texture and about half their original thickness. They will then have given up about 85% of their moisture. In cool climates or cloudy weather, you’ll need a solar drier.
Thank the tree, thank the fairies, send gratitude and love down the long ages of tree-breeding and the ancient horticultural and food-preserving traditions that brought these fruits to your garden, which you are now a part of.
Now, taste one. When you get back from Nirvana pack the remaining dried pear slices into air-tight, food-grade containers, where they will keep their full flavour for about two years, imagine how that’s going to be in the wintertime, the aroma when you open the container after they’ve been mellowing together in the container for a few months. Savour the tininess of the carbon footprint as an added pleasure. Then slice up another trayful – or are there still some peaches on that tree up the back? They can be done in the same way, as can apples, loquats and nectarines.
Do this every year and experience healthy, happy longevity in the friendly company of your darling old tree.
Some Serving Suggestions:
Scissor up into meusli, porridge or other breakfast cereal. A half dozen slices served with nuts and edible flowers such as violets or jasmine (see picture) makes a good breakfast, with mint, catnip, rosehip or jasmine tea. Give straight from jar to children instead of sweets – they’re long-lasting, and can be sucked or chewed. Substitute for commercial sweets for snacks and comfort food. Good just as they are for teething babies - early training for a life-time of wholesome food preferences. For parties, serve with apple slices with sweet dip.