For some, discovering the joy of pears feels like finally entering the Pearly Gates. That’s because, despite this sophisticated-cousin-of-the-apple’s heavenly profile—firm, perfumy, juicy, delicious—the average eater finds the road to pearadise a long and difficult one.
What causes such impearment? It’s probably as simple as the fact that pears don’t fit our handy fruit expectations. Pearplexing questions arise, such as: “How do I know when it’s ready to enjoy?” Or, “What foods can I pear it with?”
A pearson might even ask, “What gives with so much homonym-play?”
While we can’t respond to all pear queries, below we present a peared down list of the most pressing pear questions. We even throw in a trifecta of winning recipes (we call it a Pear-fecta) featuring the Anjou and Bosc varieties—our favorite pears, both in season now.
And after all that, if you find you still aren’t fond of this elegant fruit, our best advice is to grow a pear. Perhaps the experience of personally watching one ripen from flower to fruit is the best way to prepear for the flair of this fancy fruit.
Q: What is the nutritional value of a pear?
A: A medium-sized pear has about 100 calories, and is rich in dietary fiber—about 6 grams of fiber (24% of the recommended daily allowance). An average pear also provides 190 mg of potassium (5% of the recommended daily allowance), and is a good source of vitamin C. On the flip side, pears (of any size) do not contain saturated fat, sodium, or cholesterol.
Q: Why are the pears I find in the grocery store green and hard?
A: Pears ripen best off the tree. This is why pears are typically harvested and transported when they are fully mature, yet not fully ripe. This approach helps keep pears in good condition until you can buy them and ripen them at home.
Q: What is the best way to ripen pears?
A: Pears need to ripen at room temperature. Put them in a bowl on the counter where everyone can enjoy their beauty. For speedier ripening, place your pears in a paper bag. Check them daily for ripeness. For even faster ripening, put an apple or banana in the bag with your pears. As these neighboring fruits ripen they exude ethylene gas, which helps move your pears along. To slow ripening, keep your pears in the fridge.
Q: Will my pears change color as they ripen?
A: Whether or not a pear changes color as it ripens depends on the variety. Bartlett pears change from green to yellow, helping you know when they are ready to enjoy. Anjou pears (and other non-Bartlett varieties) maintain their basic hue as they ripen.
Q: How long will pears keep in the fridge?
A: Fully ripened pears will keep in the fridge for 3 to 5 days. Unripe pears can be refrigerated for a week or more. However, please note that pears stored in the refrigerator will not ripen properly.
Baked Bosc Pear with Yogurt and Granola
Bosc Pears are perfect for baking since their firmer skin and texture will retain their shape when cooked. Combined with tangy, Plain Greek Yogurt and crunchy Cranberry Gingerbread Granola (seasonal), these pears make a unique breakfast base. Tip: Bake the pears the night before and store in an airtight container. Heat for 30 seconds in the microwave just before serving. Get the Baked Bosc Pear with Yogurt and Granola recipe!
Pork & Pear Slaw Sandwich
Baked Pear & Brie en Croute
Anjou Pears are also excellent when baked. While brie and pear is a classic combination, we've taken it to the next level with Brie En Croute (seasonal) and Hot & Sweet Pepper Jelly. Tip: In addition to baked pears, serve with juicy, fresh pears on the side. Get the Baked Pear & Brie en Croute recipe!
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