I’m a self proclaimed pear queen! Pears, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways…
Number one: they are delicious! If you don’t agree, it’s because you haven’t tried the right kind of pear and you most definitely have not had one of Harry & David’s Royal Riviera Pears. They are absolutely wonderful! One of my favorite gifts to give.
Besides being tasty, there are more reasons to love pears. Pears are not a commonly allergenic food, are not known to contain measurable amounts of oxalates or purines, and are also not one of the 12 foods most frequently containing pesticide residues.
Pears are a good source of dietary fiber – a medium pear contains 6 grams of fiber, which is 24% of the recommended daily value. Pears also contain about 10% of the Daily Value of vitamin C, copper, and vitamin K.
In season primarily during fall and winter, there are thousands of varieties of pears. They differ in size, shape, color, taste and storage qualities, but the Comice, Bosc, Bartlett, and Anjou pears are the most commonly available types in the United States. Comice (1st in the photo line-up) are a good choice for eating out of hand. Bosc are the bronzy ones with long necks (2nd in the photo lineup). They should have a yellow undertone (not green) and are often used for cooking because they hold their shape so well. Bartlett, the standard Summer pears, (3rd in the photo lineup) are the juiciest and are also great for eating fresh, although they do not keep well. Unlike Winter pears, Bartletts change color from green to yellow as they ripen, making it easy to tell when they are perfect to eat. Red Bartletts turn a brighter red as they ripen. Anjou (4th and 5th in the photo lineup) is the standard variety sold at stores, both in green and red. Although the texture is good and juicy, their flavor is bland and not as sweet (especially the green variety). However, they are still good and I particularly like the red Anjou pears in the winter.
When selecting a pear, check for ripeness by gently pressing at the neck of the pear. Look for pears that are firm, but not too hard. Pears should be left at room temperature to ripen. Once their skin yields to gentle pressure, they are ripe and ready to be eaten. Refrigerate once the pears have ripened to your liking.
Use an apple core to core and slice the pears. My kids may not choose to get pears to eat themselves, but they are always delighted when I hand them a plate of cut ripe pears. If the pears are overripe, core and blend them in a power blender with skin on for more nutrition. It makes a delicious drink. Try my Pear Claflouti for a healthy breakfast, brunch or dessert. Pears are a nice addition to this Pear Pomegranate Green Salad made with pomegranate seeds and honey walnuts. Do you have good ways to fix, cook or bake with pears? Please share them with us.