Thursday, October 17, 2013

Pear Exchange


Today’s coffee: Guatemala

We’ve had crazy weather this week. On Tuesday, we joined the crowd of people at the farm trying to harvest as much as possible before the typhoon came. Our table is covered with peppers and tomatoes and herbs—we’re hoping some of the unripe ones will ripen. There’s zucchini in the refrigerator too.

I think the typhoon must have weakened and changed course, since we hardly got any wind at all, just torrential rain. I guess the farm will be okay for a few more weeks. Here’s hoping the daikon and red cabbage will be big enough to harvest before the snow comes. Yesterday morning after the typhoon ended, the mountains around Sapporo were capped with snow.

This morning as I was taking advantage of the sunshine and airing the futon on the balcony, I noticed that the Ojiisan (a polite way to call an elderly man) next door was on the roof, trimming the pear tree. 

I had previously received permission to pick up as many pears as I like. I made jam with them and brought a jar of it next door with my thanks. Then the next day, Obaasan (a polite way to call an elderly woman) came over with a big bag of peppers from their farm. (In Japan, it is impossible to out-generous one’s neighbour… :)

As I continued on with household chores, I snuck glances out the window. “What shall I do? Maybe I should go offer to help?” When I saw Obaasan picking up fallen branches, I decided to act.

“Could I please pick up some more pears?” I asked. 

“Sure!” said Obaasan. 

We chatted about cooking and gardening as I dropped pears in a big black bucket. Ojiisan smiled absentmindedly as he trimmed branches. “Watch out!” called Obaasan, as pears and branches dropped around me. 

I found out that the pear tree had been in the yard for more than 20 years, but the family never ate any of the pears. They’re not all that good to eat plain, but perfect for baking—unfortunately there’s not many traditional recipes using pears in Japan. (If you know if any, leave a comment. :)

Tonight’s task is to peel, cut, and use as many pears as possible. What to make first? I wonder what our neighbours would like to try?

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