Pears – they can be round or pear-shaped, green, yellow or light brown. You can get them fresh, dried, canned, juiced, baked or poached. They are a botanist’s delight as there are over 5,000 varieties of them! All are members of the rose family as are scores of other fruits including apples, quinces, strawberries and almonds. The varieties we are most likely to find in local supermarkets are the Bartlett, typically-shaped, Bosc identifiable for their brown-skins and Anjous, yellow but short-necked. All pears bruise easily but mercifully ripen well when picked early.
Pears appear to date back to Asia and Africa 3000 years ago. Gradually, the Europeans brought them to North America. Today most are grown in South America, Asia, New Zealand and along the U.S. northern coasts.
Look to pears for vitamin C and K, additionally they contain no cholesterol, sodium, or saturated fat. Pear skin is rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory substances.
Pears ripen from the inside out. You can cut the ripening time down by placing pears in a paper bag, at room temperature and turn the bag occasionally. Placing them near a banana also helps. Check the neck of pears for ripeness. If it “gives” to thumb pressure, the pear is ripe. Do not store near foods with strong odors, as pears have a tendency to absorb their flavor. Refrigerate after ripened.
When it is time to eat, cut flesh away from its core. Sprinkle with lemon or lime juice to prevent it from turning brown.
- Mulled in red wine
- Jellies and jams
- Salads with nuts, leeks, assorted greens
- With goat or bleu cheese
- Porridge with ginger and honey
- Flavor with liquors, star anise, vanilla,
- Maple syrup, brown sugar, other fruits
- Substitute for apples
- Pear martinis
- Cakes and crisps
Foodsites with pear recipes: