Münsterbirne Pear

Ark of taste
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Münsterbirne is a pear tree native to the greater Aachen area in northwestern Germany. The name refers to the “Münsterländchen”, the historical area of the former Kornelimünster imperial abbey south of the old imperial city of Aachen. As a traditional pear tree, it forms a prominent feature of the landscape. Münsterbirne can also be found in the German-speaking areas of Belgium north of the Hautes Fagnes and in some Dutch villages close to the border. As a standard variety, it reaches 15 meters and more in height, with an easily recognized, characteristic form. The tree’s growth is robust and it can be very long-lived. The lower trunk is often marked by spiral grain. It forms a mighty, funnel-shaped crown with a dominant central trunk and steeply rising branches. Münsterbirne flowers early to medium-early. The fruit is ripe for picking from the end of August to the beginning of September and is then suitable for consumption for another two to three weeks. It is firm and not vulnerable to transport damage when picked and the skin is glossy and dry. The fruit tends to be small to medium size (approx. 6-9 cm length) and has a greenish color that changes to yellowish with reddish colorations when ripe. The flesh is a very pale beige or yellow and slightly grainy, with medium juice content. The flavor is sweet, aromatic and spicy. The variety of flavors and aroma can be brought out to a great extent through concentrating processes such as drying, steaming or jam making, which produces fruit or preparations with intense pear aromas.

Since standard tree varieties such as the Münsterbirne have not been economically viable for most agricultural operations since the 1960s, pruning was neglected until many trees finally became unstable and collapsed due to increasing damage. A few hundred trees have survived due to their robust nature and life expectancy of up to 200 years. Due to the low number of replantings, the stock will continue to decline unless countermeasures are taken.
Parallel to these negative developments, there have been new plantings of fruit trees (including Münsterbirne) in some areas in recent years within the scope of legally required environmental offset measures and biotope improvements.

The Aachen convivium aims to establish structures and actively support them at the outset to enable the regular purchase of Münsterbirne fruit and products. New products, such as Münsterbirne ice cream, are being tested. Contacts have been established to Belgian siroperies and a distillery on the Moselle.

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