Pear nectar is the juice obtained from pressing the fruit by separating the pulp, to which only water and sugar are added to make the taste and consistency more pleasant.
The pear is the ‘false fruit’ of the pear tree, Pyrus Communis, which originates in western Asia but is also widespread throughout Europe. In fact, the ancient Greek poet Homer already mentions the pear in his works as a healthy and tasty fruit, and the favourite of heroes and gods.
This sweet, yellow fruit was also a favourite of the French king Louis XIV. Thanks to the painstaking work of the court gardener La Quintinie, 500 different varieties were grown in the royal orchards, carefully selected to ripen at different times of the year so that the Sun King always had fresh pears at his disposal.
The pear is also a fruit rich in important nutrients and vitamins, as well as being low in sodium and therefore perfect for some specific diets.
The origins of fruit juice are lost in the mists of time. Thousands of years ago, well before the year zero, our ancestors were already producing and consuming drinks made from fruit, especially grapes.
The first juices, more similar to those we know today, are more recent, starting in the 16th century, when the Italians, using lemons from the Amalfi Coast, began producing and selling lemonade, a sweet and thirst-quenching drink, in the Middle East via the Indies Route. A few decades later, juices made from other citrus fruits, such as oranges, also began to circulate.
The real success and spread of juices, as we know them today, came in the 18th century, when Scottish physician James Lind began producing fruit extracts, mainly based on citrus fruits, as an effective remedy against scurvy. In fact, Vitamin C is essential for fighting the onset of this disease and raising the body’s immune defences.
It proved so effective that in 1867, the Merchant Shopping Act decided that all ships had to carry it on board. At the beginning of the 19th century, Lind himself devised a way to avoid fermentation. By using glass bottles sealed with corks, the product could be boiled in water, thus achieving an effect similar to modern pasteurisation. This meant that large quantities could be stored in ships’ galleys, which was essential on long sea voyages as it was impossible to keep fruit and vegetables fresh for so long at the time.