September 25, 2009

La Glanage

The French word "glaner" is the verb which means to gather up after a harvest. The above picture, Les Glaneuses" is by Jean-François Millet. Glaneuse is the feminin form of the noun. And, lastly there is glanage.

Glaner means to go out after crops have been harvested and pick up any vegetables laying around. This has always been a traditional activity in France since the Middle Ages. But it was Napoléon who formalized glanage as a right for all citizens. Today, the people of France still have the right to collect left-over harvest from the fields. It's legal for the three days following the harvest. However, if you take any of the crops before they're harvested, that's stealing!

Now, glaner/glanage refers only to the food left on the ground. If one were to pick fruit from the trees or from the vines, that's called grappillage. But it's protected too, by the Napoléonic laws.

Monsieur Titi and I walk Pacha often on the same route. We go past many fruit trees that have been all but abandonned by their owners. We've always found really good apples in the fall. This year, on top of apples, we found pears! We have both la Poire William and la Poire Conférence. Many people use the pears to make gnole (fruit alcohol). One of the traditional alcohols from this region is the "Liquer de Poire".

This is a Conférence Pear off of one of the fruit trees nearby. Conference pears got their names by winning the International Pear Conference in London in 1885.

After having carted back a couple of sacks of pears, I decided to make a pear cake. It's so easy and can be made with just about any harder fruit; apples, pears, peaches, figs, etc.

Here's the recipe for you. It's tried and true and I can only encourage you to give it a try!

Pear Cake

600-700 grams of peeled pears, or apples
250 grams of flour (1 cup)
250 grams of brown sugar (1 cup)
125 grams of melted butter (1/2 cup)
2 eggs
1-2 teaspoons of baking powder
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
125 grams (1/2 cup) of chopped walnuts, almonds or hazelnuts

Peel and cut the fruit into cubes of about 3 cms. Chop the nuts. If you want, you can put a little lemon juice on the fruit but not too much.

Mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder and cinnamon. Add in the eggs, butter and vanilla. Mix as well as possible, as the batter will be VERY thick!

Mix in the fruit and nuts. This will be very thick with what seems like too much fruit. However, when baked the fruit releases it's juices and the cake will soak them up.

Cook for about 45-50 minutes in an oven at 175°C / 350°F. Eat warm or cold. Keeps for several days covered in aluminum.

Enjoy! And if anyone complains about you picking up the left-over veggies and fruit in their fields, tell them that you have the right!


Leigh Russell said...

glaner is gleaning, isn't it? It sounds so much more poetic in French. I just called by from Blogland Lane to say hi and thank you for commenting on my post about the literary festival. As for my book, Cut Short - Si vous aimez les intrigues detectives, le frisson et le suspense, alors ce livre est fait pour vous! (I hope that makes sense . . .)

Habebi said...

Yum! I wish we had fruit trees all over my neighborhood so I could grab some. Not going to lie- I'm a wee bit envious of you and M. Titi!

Oh My Goddess said...

Now that looks delicious! I'll have to find a recipe converter though.

Jenners said...

What a great and useful concept! And the pear cake looks yummy!

Mr. Condescending said...

AWESOME tidbit, and delicious looking food!

I am just used to eating bartlett pears. I need more pear variety!

Megan said...

International Pear Conference. wow.

Dedene said...

Leigh, Yes, gleaning must be the English version. Your book looks very interesting and your French est parfait!

Habebi, There are advantages and disadvantages of living in the country. I could be envious of you too!

Elise, the conversions are on the recipe. You need about 1-1/4 pounds of pears, peeled.

Jenners, It's always sad to see food going to waste. The cake is good!

Mr. C., you'll have to get out and travel to taste new fruits!

Megan, cool, huh? Do you have pears down South?

Not Waving but Drowning said...

I love Conference pears, life would be hollow without them.

That cake looke so scrummy too,


French Fancy said...

That's my second good pear recipe in a few days - the other was Willow's pear preserves - now I just need to go and buy a big bag.

Susie Vereker said...

Delicious sounding recipe - I have tons of apples this year.
Dedene, thanks so much for visiting and signing up for one of my secondary blogs but the main one is 'Susie Vereker -writer', where I rave on more regularly about books, English gardens and the countryside - and France too sometimes.
I love your top photo.

Jeanne said...

Usually, we get a late frost that destroys our tree fruit, but last year had bumper crops of pears and apples. I know this because I had to walk by the homes of several neighbors with rotting fruit lying on the ground and it killed my soul to leave that stuff lying there.

Next time we have a good year, I'm taking a sack with me, knocking on their front door, and, citing Napoleon, asking if I can glean.

PS -- I saw that painting a couple of years ago, when it was visiting our local Art Institute.

Dedene said...

CG, Yes, you must have Conference pears near you. They are good, even though a bit sad looking.

FF, Oh, yes, there are definitely good recipes, too good.

Susie, I'll come see your main blog. Apples work too!

Jeanne, I agree, it makes me sick to see fruit and veggies go to waste.

Frankofile said...

mmm thanks for the ideas. And what a lovely lot of commenters too - just the best way to find great blogs!

Dedene said...

Frankofile, these ladies are all great bloggers and I'm sure you'll enjoy each of their blogs.

Barbara said...

Hi Dedene,

That's one of the bonuses of living in the rural areas ! I'm in the very urban 92 département so it's rare. I do have at home pear,cherry and fig trees and they give some nice fruit.

Bon appétit les gourmands !