This sweet fruit gets juicier as it ripens and ranges in taste from spicy-sweet to tart-sweet. There are over 5,000 varieties grown, but the most common varieties are Anjou, Asian, Bosc, and Bartlett. Each one adds a distinct and delicate flavour to dishes, such as salads, soups, and desserts.
How to Pick Pears:
They may be hard and unripe when you buy them, but they ripen the longer they are off the tree. Choose pears that are free of blemishes and firm. If they are soft to the touch at the stem end and have a rich pear scent, they are ready to eat.
How to Store Pears:
If they are not yet ripe (firm), store them at room temperature until ripened. If the pears are already ripe, they should be refrigerated in an open plastic bag and will last up to five days.
How to Prepare Pears:
Pears can be eaten whole, skin and all, just like an apple. If you do peel them, a vegetable peeler works really well. When peeled, you’ll want to make sure they are dipped in a mixture of lemon juice and water (acidulated water) to keep them from turning brown. To core a pear, either slice it into quarters and cut out the core, or cut the pear in half and use a melon baller to scoop out the core.
There are many ways in which you can prepare a pear in addition to eating them raw, including: baking, grilling, poaching, roasting, sautéing, and stewing.
1 pound = 3 medium pears = two cups sliced
Kary’s Pear Tips:
- When cooking with pears, the firmer the better.
- Asian pears are best enjoyed firm, rather than ripe and soft.
- Anjou pears are great for poaching as they have firm flesh, which holds its shape well.
- If storing pears in the fridge, it’s important to store them in a perforated or open bag, or the fruit will darken at the centre.
- Pears and apples are interchangeable in most recipes.
- Pears go so well with cheese, nuts, and chocolate.
- When baking or poaching whole pears, choose pairs that are similar in size. That way they’ll cook at the same rate.
- To ripen your fruit, place in a paper bag with an apple and puncture the bag several times with a knife. Store at room temperature.
What Do Pears Go Well With?
Pears go well with: apples, almonds, brandy, cheese (blue, brie, feta and goat), chocolate, cinnamon, cloves, ice cream, figs, and ginger.
Author: Kary Osmond