The long, slightly banana-shaped Abate Fetel pears are a yellowish-green with a slight russeting. Their white flesh has a slightly crisp texture and a sweet flavor with notes of honey. The entire pear is edible, including the seed bed. Abate Fetel pears are ready to eat when they are just barely soft to the touch.
Abate Fetel pears are available for a short time during the early spring months.
Abate Fetel (pronounced ah-BAH-tay fuh-TEL) pears are an heirloom variety of the European pear, Pyrus communis, first bred in mid-fifteenth century Europe. Abate Fetel pears are considered “Italy’s favorite pear” and for a long time were rarely available outside of Europe.
Abate Fetel pears are ideal for eating fresh, out-of-hand. Their flavor and texture would lend well to any baked dish, pear tart or cake. Dice or slice pears for salads or use as stuffing for pork or chicken. Canning these heirloom pears will preserve their sweet, honeyed flavor.
Abate Fetel pears were developed in France in 1866. The Italian pears were named after Abbé Fétel, the monk who first bred them in the mid-1400s. They were discovered as a “chance” seedling, and are commonly referred to as an “Italian fruit.” For a long time Abate Fetel pears were only grown in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy. Today, the Italian pears also grow in Argentina, South Africa and in California in the United States.