My earliest memory of pears was the amazing pear orchard behind our house in northern California. We gathered them up and ate to our hearts’ content. We loved them whole and in fruit salads and with pancakes — Mom served them similar to this recipe for Whole Wheat German Pancake with Pears. Dad loved them with a leafy green salad, like this Spinach Salad with Pears, Walnuts and Goat Cheese. But then big bulldozers came and the pear orchard was gone. In its place stood our new elementary school.
I never forgot those wonderful pears and I still love to eat them – just now I get them from our produce department. Did you know there are more than 3,000 varieties of pears grown around the world? Shocking! Our favorites are at their best from August through the winter. Here are some common favorites:
Bartlett – Sweet, juicy and aromatic. Varieties are green and red. Green ones turn to yellow as they ripen. Add to fruit salads, pancakes, waffles, muffins and quick breads.
Anjou – Firm and perfect for slicing into green salads, fruit salad or for cooking; these pears hold their shape well in recipes. Available in red or green varieties, try them in hot or cold cereal, yogurt and smoothies.
Bosc – Firm and great for cooking and eating out of hand. They hold their shape beautifully in recipes. Their color is greenish yellow with a little brown. Make crisps, tarts and pies with these guys.
Comice – Green and sometimes reddish in spots, they’re amazing with cheese and honey or fresh fruits like figs.
Seckel – Small, sweet and crunchy, these little pears are the perfect size for kids or a light quick snack. Their pretty olive-green color and small size make them easy to recognize.
- Endive, Pear and Walnut Salad
- Winter Salad with Pears, Walnuts and Roquefort Croutons
- Mixed Green Salad with Pears, Hazelnuts, Blue Cheese and Homemade Croutons
- Radicchio, Fennel and Pear Salad
Pears are perfect for desserts as well as main dishes:
- Baked Chicken with Spinach, Pears and Blue Cheese
- Tangy Grilled Pork Chops with Pears and Blue Cheese (Remember: blue cheese can be substituted with another cheese such as feta, if desired).
- Raw Pear Crisp (Try this for breakfast and snacks, too).
- Ginger and Jasmine Tea-Poached Pears (Try these for breakfast and snacks, too).
- Ricotta with Raw Honey and Pears (Perfect as well for breakfast, lunch or snack).
- Gingered Pears with Port Glaze and Mascarpone
- Goat Cheese Cheesecake with Roasted Rosemary Pears
- Poached Pears with Fig Syrup and Blue Cheese
- Pear and Almond Tart
- Eggnog Panna Cotta with Spiced Pears (Save this gorgeous dessert for the holidays)!
How do you love to eat pears? Let me know.