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Seckel

"Good things often come in small packages." In the case of the diminutive Seckel, this could not be more truthful. The smallest of all commercially grown pears, Seckels are exceptionally sweet. So sweet in fact, that the bite-size morsels are sometimes called "sugar pears."

Identifying a Seckel

Seckels are tiny pears, with a chubby, round body, small neck, and short stem. Their skin is usually olive green, but frequently exhibits a dark maroon blush that sometimes covers the entire surface of the pear.

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Seasonality

Sweet Seckel pears are in season from September through February, and harvest begins in the fall.

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Culinary Uses

Because of their petite size, Seckels can easily be overshadowed by the larger varieties. However, it's their size which makes them a perfect choice for certain uses:

  • Snack-sized Seckels added to lunch boxes or bags are appreciated, particularly by children who love their sweet flavor.
  • Seckels are small enough to be canned whole. Jars of "baby-pear" Seckels are charming as gifts.
  • As a plate garnish, a small half of a Seckel pear is as beautiful as it is tasty.

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History

Seckels are believed by many to be the only truly American variety of pear grown commercially. Unlike other varieties planted in the U.S. from European cultivars, Seckels are thought to have originated as a wild seedling near Philadelphia. They were discovered in the early 1800's. This may or may not be true, however. It is possible that German immigrants travelling westward through the area dropped fruit or left seeds behind.

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