While available all year round, pears are the most delicious in the fall when they are at their peak. Pears are as nutritious as they are popular. A medium pear has about 100 calories and 6 whopping grams of fiber. Pears are essentially fat and sodium free. They are loaded with vitamin C and are also a good source of potassium.
There are hundreds of varieties of pears providing a wide range of flavors and textures. Pears are a unique fruit in that they ripen best off the tree. This ensures that pears are in good condition to properly ripen at home. A pear is ripe when the neck near the stem gives to a little pressure. Ripe fruit can be enjoyed right away or stored in the refrigerator to slow further ripening. If the goal is to speed up ripening, place pears in a paper bag. Be sure to keep an eye on your fruit so you can enjoy it at the perfect time.
The most common pears include:
- Bartlett pears: Are juicy with the classic sweet pear taste. They are great to enjoy fresh and work well in desserts and salads. Bartlett pears are also good for canning. This variety changes color as it ripens.
- Green Anjou pears: Are considered “all-purpose” with their sweet, juicy, and slightly citrusy flavor. The skin remains green even when ripe. This variety is good for baking or to slice and add to dishes.
- Bosc pears: Tend to have a crisp, woodsy, honey-sweet flavor. It has a smooth texture that holds well when cooked and baked.
- Asian pears: Are crunchy, juicy, and sweet. They remain firm when ripe and best eaten as a snack or in salads.
- Forelle pears: Are crisp, tangy, and refreshingly sweet. They are smaller size in size and have a unique yellow-green skin that’s naturally decorated with crimson freckles. These pears pears are perfect for snacking and cooking.
Pears are very versatile. Anything that can be done with an apple can be done with a pear. In addition to being added raw in almost anything, pears bake, poach, sauté, roast, and grill very nicely. Enjoy pears for a snack, in an appetizer or an ingredient in a main course. Incorporate into baked goods, preserves, jams and chutneys. With their sweet flavor and texture, pears are an irresistible match for many sweet and savory foods.
Ways to get in the “Pear Mood”:
- Try pears in hot cereal with pecans.
- Mix sliced pears with vanilla yogurt and honey.
- Combine pears into a salad with blue cheese, leafy greens, and balsamic vinaigrette.
- Add thinly sliced pears to a grilled cheese sandwich or your favorite panini.
- Enjoy pears in soup as a stand-alone star or in combination with veggies.
- Incorporate pears into dips and spreads.
- Make this Fruit Cobbler recipe with pears, apples and/or plums for a tasty easy fruit dessert.
- This Pear, Arugula and Caramelized Onion Pizza with whole wheat crust, walnuts and blue cheese makes a special dinner any night of the week.
- Slice pears atop whole-grain toast.
- Wrap pear slices in prosciutto.
- Pair pears with blue cheese, parmesan, or aged white cheddar.
- Snack on a pear with a small portion of nuts.
- Smear pear slices with almond or cashew butter.
- Make these simple cinnamon pear chips: Slice 2–3 pears super thin, sprinkle with cinnamon (and a little brown sugar, if desired) and bake them low and slow on a lightly greased baking sheet (200°F for 2–2 1/2 hours, flipping halfway through). For a balanced snack with more staying power, spoon a little nut butter, Greek yogurt, or cottage cheese on top of each chip.
Don’t miss out! There are so many ways to enjoy a pear today!