Like apples and persimmons, pears are a culinary signal of the beginning of autumn. There are many varieties of pears widely available nowadays, including Bosc, Anjou, Bartlett, Asian, and lesser known varieties like Seckel, Forelle, and Starkrimson. They all have unique colors ranging from red to green and ripe textures ranging from firm and crunchy to silky and creamy.
In China it is considered bad luck to share a pear with friends or lovers. This, due to the fact that the Chinese phrase “Fen li” means both “to share a pear” and “to separate”.
Unlike most fruits, pears are picked when unripe and then ripen off the tree. When choosing pears, pick hard pears without blemishes or soft spots. Allow them to ripen at room temperature on the counter.
Pears ripen from the inside out, so check the thinner stem end for ripeness. If the flesh yields to gentle pressure, it is ripe. If you wait until the thick body of the pear feels ripe, the inside will be overripe.
To speed up ripening, place pears inside a paper bag and crumple the end to seal it up.
Ripe pears can be refrigerated for about three days.
If you have a little one, try making your own baby food by roasting and pureeing fresh pears.
Recent research has shown that consuming Asian pears before a night of drinking can help prevent a hangover the next day. We say it’s worth a try!
Like with apples, pears turn brown when exposed to air due to the conversion of iron from ferrous oxide to ferric oxide. Cover with a squeeze of lemon juice to slow down this process.
Wash pears in clean running cold water before using to remove any surface dirt and residue.
Trim both ends using paring knife and cut in half. Run your knife around the inner stem and seeds, and then slice as desired.
While pears are perfect in their raw state, they are equally wonderful poached in wine seasoned with cinnamon sticks. Alternatively, you can roast or grill them and pair with ice cream for a warm dessert.
Pears make a lovely addition to homemade applesauce.
Try incorporating pears into salads, especially those with bacon and cheese.
Pears are a good source of dietary fiber. In fact, they have more fiber, folate, and potassium than apples do!
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