The Bartlett pear (also known in areas of Europe as the Williams pear) is the most popular pear variety in the world. It is a European strain, as opposed to an oriental hybrid or an Asian pear. Bartletts are commonly eaten fresh and used in cooking and canning. The easy-to-grow tree is vigorous and grows quickly, producing a harvest in just 4-6 years.
Bartlett pear trees were imported to the U. S. in the 1790s and grown here by Enoch Bartlett, a fruit farmer in Massachusetts. His name became attached to the famous pear from that time forward. Now the pears are commercially grown in the Pacific Northwest and in California.
In mid- to early spring, the tree displays billows of white blossoms. As the pears form and mature, their color slowly changes from bright green to a light gold-yellow when the fruit is ripe.
Using Bartlett Pears
Bartlett pears are favored for their sweet taste and fragrance. They are also lovely to look at, with the classic pear shape, and hints of red behind the deep yellow skin. Pair the fresh fruit with cheese and wine for a tantalizing appetizer or with meats and sausages for a charcuterie.
These pears are also preferred for canning because of the ability of the fruit to hold its shape and retain its sweet flavor. Chefs and home cooks enjoy the firm quality of the pear, using it for baking desserts, such as crisps and pies. It is a valuable addition to savory dishes, including stuffings and roasted meats. Bartletts are a staple in many home pantries—they can be frozen, canned or dried so you can preserve your pear crop and enjoy it all through the winter months.
Pears are a good source of fiber and are rich in copper and vitamins C and K.
Growing the Bartlett Pear Tree
Bartlett pear trees require full sun and well-drained soil. The tree also needs enough chill hours below 45º (at least 800) to bear fruit. See below for more soil characteristics and USDA hardiness zones.
The tree requires a pollinating partner. Choose Blake’s Pride, Starking® Delicious™, Moonglow, Beurre Bosc or Stark® Honeysweet.
Plant a Bartlett pear tree so you can pick and enjoy your own fresh, homegrown fruit, as well as preserve your bountiful harvest!
Note: Bartlett is not a suitable pollinator for Seckel pear trees.