Some pear tree varieties include "Bartlett", "Kieffer" and "Anjou." Bartlett pear trees are average size and produce medium-size pears that turn yellow when ripe. Kieffer trees produce medium-size pears that are ideal for canning. Anjou pear trees produce light-green, sweet-tasting pears that can be used fresh or canned.
Pears originated in Europe and Asia. In 1860, author T.W. Fields noted 850 varieties of pears, and the number has increased since then. The two main varieties are the European and the Asian. Asian pears are also known as apple pears, due to their rounder shape and firm crispness. They are best consumed just after picking. European pears are characteristically softer and juicier. These pears are best picked after the fruit matures but before ripening.
Asian pear trees are considered self-incompatible, meaning they need to be planted near another pear tree for better pollination and maximum fruit production. Many European pear trees produce more fruit when paired with another tree, but some varieties are self-pollinating. Pear trees grow quickly and begin to bear fruit about three to five years after planting.
The pear is a highly nutritious fruit. It is a rich source of dietary fiber, and contains copper, vitamin C and vitamin K.