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Savor the Season: Pears


Pears are truly a fruit worth waiting for. Picked unripe, they need to slowly mellow, softening and becoming sweeter as they mature. Here's how to make the most of pears while at their peak.

Varieties of Pears:

Anjou

Type: Anjou
Shape: Squat
Texture: Firm and mealy
Flavor profile: Juicy with a sweet-spicy flavor
Best uses: Eaten fresh, or used in salads or desserts

Asian

Type: Asian (aka Chinese pears or Apple pears)
Shape: More apple-shaped than the traditional pear
Texture: Firm and juicy, with plenty of crunch
Flavor profile: Part apple, part pear
Best uses: Fresh, used in salads, or for baking

Bartlett

Type: Bartlett
Shape: Traditional
Texture: Smooth
Flavor profile: Juicy and sweet, with a perfume-like aroma
Best uses: Eaten fresh, or used in salads and desserts, and for canning

Bosc

Type: Bosc
Shape: Squat
Texture: Firm and mealy
Flavor profile: Juicy with a sweet-spicy flavor
Best uses: Eaten fresh, or used in salads or desserts

Comice

Type: Comice
Shape: Slender with a longer top and long, thin stem
Texture: Buttery
Flavor profile: Subtle and nutty
Best uses: Baking, poaching, eating fresh

Forelle

Type: Forelle
Shape: Small with a bell shape
Texture: Smooth
Flavor profile: Sweet and ultra-juicy
Best uses: Eaten fresh, or used in salads and desserts

Seckel

Type: Seckel
Shape: Petite, sometimes even small enough to be bite-size
Texture: Smooth
Flavor profile: Super-sweet flavor
Best uses: Snacking, or used in appetizers and desserts


Choosing Pears
  • Look for firm or hard unripe pears (they're actually better if ripened after picking), then let them ripen at home.
  • Make sure stems are still intact.
  • Pass on any pear with bruises or cuts.

Storing and Ripening

  • Ripen hard pears in a paper bag or covered fruit bowl at room temperature. Check daily for ripeness.

  • Store unripe pears in the refrigerator until you're ready to ripen; once out of the fridge, keep them at room temperature.

  • Check for ripeness by gently pressing the stem end of the pear with your thumb. If there's some give, that's a good sign. Color will not indicate ripeness because some varieties will not change after picking.

  • To extend their usefulness, refrigerate ripe pears 3 to 5 days after ripening.

Cooking with Pears
How to Cook Pears

  • If eating whole, simply wash before eating.

  • For salads and desserts, wash, peel and cut pears using a small sharp knife or vegetable peeler to remove the thin skin.

  • To halve pears, cut lengthwise and remove the core with a small knife.

  • Brush sliced pears that will not be immediately eaten with a little lemon juice to prevent browning.

  • If you want to poach or stuff whole pears, use a melon baller to remove the core from the bottom, leaving the rest of the fruit intact.

  • A medium pear will give you about 1 cup of slices.
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Nutritional Highlights

How to Choose Pears

  • With only a slim 100 calories each and low on the glycemic index (meaning the carbs in pears convert slowly to sugar), pears provide a good "sweet" choice for those watching their calorie intake.

  • A medium pear (about the size of an adult fist) is a good source of dietary fiber, providing 16% of the recommended daily allowance.

  • Pears are a good source of vitamin C. The antioxidant promotes healing, boosts the immune system and reduces free radical damage.
Pear Recipes You'll Love

Pear and Greens Salad with Maple Vinaigrette Pear-Pecan Tart Slow Cooker Maple-Sauced Pears
Pear and Greens
Salad with Maple
Vinaigrette
Pear-Pecan
Tart
Slow Cooker
Maple-Sauced
Pears
Prosciutto and Creamy Blue Cheese Pear Slices Hearty Ham and Pear Panini Berry Best Pear Pie

Prosciutto and
Creamy Blue
Cheese Pear Slices

Hearty Ham and
Pear Panini

Berry Best
Pear Pie

 

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