A Guide To Buying And Cooking Pears
There are over 3,000 varieties of pears, and many are available all year long. However, from August through October, most pears are at their peak.
Packed with fiber, vitamin C, copper, and vitamin K, pears are thought to lower bad cholesterol and reduce the risk of breast cancer and colon cancer.
They are also scrumptious and easy to add to recipes.
How to Buy Pears
Once they are fully ripe, pears will rot within a few days. That’s why most pears purchased at grocery stores and even farmer’s markets should sit for several days before being consumed. Shop for pears that are not hard, but still firm.
Some people say pears with brown patches are better flavored; in any case, this characteristic doesn’t mean the pear is going bad.
How to Store Pears
To fully ripen pears, leave them at room temperature, in a single layer. When they yield to a gentle squeeze, they are ready to eat and can be stored in the refrigerator for a couple of days. Do not place them in bags, as this will make them rot faster.
Pears can also be canned or frozen for later use. To freeze, dissolve ½ teaspoon of ascorbic acid (like “Fruit Fresh”) in 3 tablespoons of water. Mix with peeled and sliced pears, over medium heat, for 2 minutes. Place in air tight containers and freeze. Or, make a syrup of 2 cups sugar for every 3 cups water, plus ½ teaspoon ascorbic acid. Heat, along with peeled and sliced pears. Place in air tight containers in the freezer.
How to Cook Pears
- Whenever possible, leave the skin on pears, since it’s the main source of fiber in the fruit. However, when cooked, pear skins tend to get tough.
- Bake pears, just like you’d bake an apple.
- Replace apples with pears in many recipes.
- Pears pair nicely with pork and poultry.
- Roast pears along with vegetables.
- Serve pears with wine and cheese. Try Anjou pears with goat cheese paired and Sauvignon Blanc, Bartlett pears with Saint André cheese and Brut Champagne, or red Barletts with buttery brie and Chianti.
- Make pear pie, tart, crisp, or cobbler.
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