An elegant and sinuous fruit with a soft and juicy pulp, it was already well known in remote prehistoric times and its collection dates back to about 3000 years ago. From Asia to China it then spread to the shores of the thriving Mediterranean, quickly becoming one of the most popular delicacies in Ancient Greece, so much so that it was mentioned in the Homeric masterpiece of the Odyssey.
He was among the first to mention this delicious fruit Homer in his writing most famous epic that is the Odyssey, defining the pear a “gift of the Gods”Flowered in the famous royal garden of King Alcinoo, ruler of the Phaeacians. In addition to the famous poet, he praised his beauty and virtues too Theophrastus, gone down in history as the greatest botanist of the ancient world that mention this succulent fruit in his greatest work the “Historia Plantarum“ in which he analyzed numerous plants, classifying them with attention and a wealth of details, thus elevating it to a document of enormous historical and cultural value that is still a point of reference for scholars in the sector today.
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Origins and diffusion of the pear
From China to Asia Minor, passing through the civilizations of the Mediterranean basin to the Romans, it is here that the famous Marco Porcio Cato describes this sweet and versatile fruit in one of his major works: it is in fact in the treaty De agriculture that the origin and cultivation of the pear tree are clarified as well as valid suggestions on fertilizing the soil and the healthiest areas where this tree, strong and vigorous, can take root, give substantial and delicious fruits.
Among botanists and famous scholars who have examined this plant with a thousand properties, also counts Pliny that in his work the “Historia Naturalis”Lists a rich corollary of appellatives and varieties, revealing the origins of the name sometimes inherited from their discoverers.
The pear comes generally included in the genus Pyrus, it comes placed in the Rosaceae family and according to many scholars and botanists it was discovered in the mountainous area of deep China from where it spread throughout the West, adapting well to different climates and temperatures. The origins of the modern name are rooted in a cultured and ancient past and confirm the Latin etymology deriving from the epithet “pear” or “pyre“.
Cultivation of the pear he found in the Middle Ages a period of flourishing cultivation, the first variety of which is to be attributed to the emperor Charlemagne, the famous sovereign of the Holy Roman Empire who tenaciously wanted to preserve this cultivation despite the decay and abandonment of the countryside.
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Thus it was that the cultivation of pear trees ended up in safe hands, at the estates that surrounded sanctuaries and monasteries, so much so that many of the specialties still produced bear the name of the convents where they grew and spread such as the San Germano pear or Jerusalem. Very soon its diffusion extended to the whole of Europe finding in France an excellent fertile and fertile ground as well as a group of passionate pomologists who studied its origins and properties, providing for an increase in the classification including new and original varieties.
Properties and benefits of the pear
The pear is a sweet September fruit with multiple nutritional properties. Of course rich in vitamin C turns out to be a excellent antioxidant capable of fighting damage precocious of free radicals reducing its oxidative stress. His assumption of it strengthens the immune system and thanks to the vitamins contained in them it turns out to be a valid ally of skin health.
The peel of the pear, on the other hand, it is rich in phytonutrients such as polyphenols, phenolic acids and flavonoids in addition to ensuring a valid supply of healthy fatty acids e anti-inflammatory and protective abilities against various forms of cancer. It is excellent ally of heart health with the contribution of valuable antioxidants, vitamins and fibers is keeps healthy and vigorous bone health being rich in vitamin K. The deficiency of this vitamin exposes the body to the risk of important disorders affecting the skeletal system and expose it more to the risk of osteoporosis.
It is a valid support for the intestine thanks to the high fiber content and it is one of the fruits suggested for those who follow a healthy diet, contributing and improving intestinal motility. It also helps to lose weight thanks to its high satiating power and it is perfect for a great refreshing snack and moisturizing as well as improving digestion and fighting overt cases of constipation.
The pear: between myth and legend
The pear represented at the ancient civilizations a fruit full of symbolism especially among the ancient Egyptians. It was indeed considered a fruit sacred for many deities from the goddess Isis of the fascinating Egyptian culture up to being a dear fruit for the Greek goddess Athena and Hera. Aphrodite goddess of love also chose this fruit as emblem of fertility and femininity for its typical sinuous shape: came very often associated with the womb of the woman for its erotic charge as well as remember the lines of the womb, therefore, an emblem of fertility and procreation.
In the East this fruit is charged with a strong symbolism, almost always positive. In China it was elevated to emblem of justice and wisdom, indicates in its many representations longevity as well as purity of soul. In Japan you are entrusted with the power to ward off evil while in Korea it becomes a symbol of grace and nobility as well as female fertility, luck in projects and exams, health and wisdom. Well note the Christian symbolism, where from the very beginning of the spread of Christianity the pear tree took on its meaning of Christ’s love and dedication for humanity.
Curiosities about the pear tree
Thanks to its ancient origins, the pear carries everything with it a series of curious and fascinating legends. Returning to Greek mythology there is a clear reference to the gigantic cyclops Polyphemus, who in an attempt to seduce and conquer the nymph Galatea he praised all those that were his extraordinary riches including its flourishing pear orchards. One of the greatest admirers of this fruit was Louis XIV enough to be so greedy from elect the pear as the most consumed fruit on the tables of the nobility of the time.