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Falling for Pears

From the tip of their distinctive shape right down to their unique texture, pears are a beautifully satisfying fruit. And autumn and winter are the perfect time for pears and when you’ll see the most varieties. So, whether you like your pears with a little crunch or prefer them soft and super sweet, there’s a pear to please everyone

The Very Many Varieties of Pears

Here’s a list of some common European varieties you’ll see in the produce section this season, what they taste like and what to do with them. 

 

Anjou

Characteristics: sweet, can be eaten firm or soft

Appearance: green or red, green changes to green-yellow when ripe

Recommended Use: out of hand

 

Bartlett

Characteristics: aromatic, sweet, juicy, soft

Appearance: green fruit turns yellow when ripe

Recommended Use: out of hand, canning, cooking, salads

 

Bosc

Characteristics: aromatic, firm, crisp

Appearance: exterior color does not change when ripe

Recommended Use: baking, poaching

 

Comice

Characteristics: very sweet, flavorful, soft

Appearance: dull green or red/yellow, changes very little when ripe

Recommended Use: out of hand, desserts, served with cheese

 

Concorde

Characteristics: dense, crisp, sweet

Appearance: green with yellow undertones when ripe

Recommended Use: salads, baking 

 

Forelle

Characteristics: small, sweet, juicy

Appearance: deep yellow with red blush

Recommended Use: out of hand, baking

 

Seckel

Characteristics: small, very sweet, spicy

Appearance: maroon and olive green, does not change when ripe

Recommended Use: out of hand, garnish, baking, pickling

 

Perfect Pear-ings

Of course, pears are lovely all on their own, but they are also great in a variety of dishes. Their crunch makes them a nice addition to salads, their sweetness complements savory meats and pungent cheese, and their flavor and texture are perfect for sauces and baked goods.

Storing

Most pears ripen best at room temperature. Keep them in a fruit bowl or in a loosely closed paper sack and check for ripeness daily by pressing gently near the stem with your thumb. If the flesh yields, the pear is ready to eat. Ripening can be delayed by refrigerating. Lengthy refrigeration when fully ripe can make some varieties mealy. 

Nutrition Information

Pears are a good source of dietary fiber, particularly if unpeeled. Pears also contain significant amounts of vitamin C and potassium.

What’s your idea of a perfect pear?