Pears, sorbs and other colourful autumn fruits

Wild and cultivated pears and sorbs: ancient food resources

September 26, 2018

A parallel between a modern pear cultivar and ancient or wild types

Small wild pear fruits, also used as food in the past

Service tree, (Sorbus domestica L.) fruits, villa Ghigi park, Bologna

Autumn: the season of wild and cultivated pears, as of many other coloured fruits.

Here you can see some examples, before somebody starts taking about “foliage”. Indeed, this word of American origin puts a little violence on us during this season, when used as an advertisement for hikes having the autumn colours as a theme. In addition, others also use a French pronunciation, for this word, not existing in French language.

Let’s return to the colour of fruits. And to pear domestication. By the way, have you ever noticed around these huge wild pear trees with very small fruits? In past times, also these fruits were used, together with sorbs any many other fruits; in fact, nothing was thrown away: over-ripe, when some of their astringency was lost, or dried, then consumed in different ways. As a matter of fact, it is well documented that dried fruits were not considered as snacks, are they are now, but a nutritional food, used in several preparations, mixed to flours, as in gruels or cooked doughs.

In addition, also sorbs, some pictures of which are in this page, apples and many other fruits were used in s the same way as wild and cultivated pears.

Wild and cultivated pears. Filippo D’Antuono. All rights reserved.

Old pear variety fruits,  Cavaioni park, near Bologna

An old pear variety at the  Montefiore Conca market

Wild servuce tree (Sorbus torminalis (l.) Crantz) fruits, villa Ghigi park, Bologna

Rowan (Sorbus aucuparia L.) fruits, monte Alfeo

Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna Jacq.) fruits, mount Borgognone

Cornalian cherry (Cornus mas L.) fruits, mount Alfeo

Sorbus intermedia (Ehrh.) Pers. fruits, Prato Grande (PC)