In winter when you are craving fresh fruit, pears are available in markets everywhere. Loaded with vitamin C and antioxidants — those wonderful substances that fight the damaging free radicals roaming around our bodies — pears are also an excellent source of fiber.
But unlike apples and oranges that are ready for you to take a bite upon purchase, eating pears requires a little planning to give them time to ripen. Pears are so delicate, they are shipped to stores unripe to prevent bruising, but a little patience will yield tasty rewards.
Store pears in the refrigerator for up to a week, then move them to a room temperature spot for a few days. Ripe pears are sweet, soft, juicy and delicious — whether they are eaten out of hand, poached, baked or put in salads.
The skin is edible if pears are eaten raw but peel them for cooking or baking because the skin becomes leathery. Pears will turn brown when the skin is removed, so rub them with lemon juice or dip them in a cold-water bath with lemon juice added.
Know your pears:
Anjou — good for cooking and eating
Bartlett —– the most popular pears, juicy
Bosc — hold their shape for baking and cooking
Asian pears — look like beige-green apples, very crisp
Comice — best for eating out of hand
Try these great recipes for pears.
Gingery Pears in Green Tea
A light dessert or add yogurt for a healthy and refreshing meal.
Pear and Cranberry Crisp
Serve with a little vanilla ice cream.
An easy and foolproof dessert.
Watercress and Pear Soup
Spinach is a good substitute for this recipe also.
Chestnut, Onion and Pear Sauté
Delicious side dish with meats such as pork or lamb.
Pear and Buckwheat Pancakes
Sweet pears are a good match for the earthy flavor of buckwheat.
Butternut Squash and Pear Soup
Warm up on cold winter nights with this soup.
Spinach, Pear and Endive Salad
A salad that pairs well with meat and poultry.
Spinach, Pear and Walnut Panini With Feta
A delicious vegetarian Panini option.
Tender Salad With Pears, Apples, Grapes, Gorgonzola and Grilled Chicken
This sweet and savory salad is unusually good.