Also Known as
Juicy and sweet, with a soft, buttery yet somewhat grainy texture, the white to cream-colored flesh of pears was once referred to as the "gift of the gods". Although the season for pears runs from August through October, there is a variety of pear available year-round because of the seasonal variations amongst the different varieties
Pears are members of the rose family and related to the apple and the quince. Pears generally have a large round bottom that tapers towards the top. Depending upon the variety, their paper-thin skins can either be yellow, green, brown, red or a combination of two or more of these colors. Like apples, pears have a core that features several seeds.
Pears are delicious fruits that are related to apple. While there are thousands of varieties of pears with each differing in size, shape, color, taste and storage qualities, the Bosc, Bartlett, Anjou and Comice pears are the most commonly available types in the United States.
Pears generally have a large round bottom that tapers towards the top. Depending upon the variety, their paper-thin skins can either be yellow, green, brown, red or a combination of two or more of these colors. The white to cream-colored flesh of pears is very juicy and sweet, while their textures are soft and buttery, yet slightly grainy. Like apples, pears have a core that features several seeds.
To cut the pear into pieces, you can use an apple corer, cutting from the fruit's base to remove the core, and then cutting it into the desired sizes and shapes. Once cut, pears will oxidize quickly and turn a brownish color. You can help to prevent this by applying some lemon, lime or orange juice to the flesh.
With apple corer extract the core from the pear without cutting the pear into sections and then individually cutting out each part of the core. This tool has a circular cutting edge that is forced down into the pear, allowing the pear to remain whole so it can then be easily sliced into sections for eating it out of hand or baking it whole with the outer skin intact.
Fresh pear juice
Peel the pears using a peeler. Discard the stem and seeds. Place the pears on a chopping board and roughly chop the pear into pieces using a sharp knife. Combine 3 cups roughly chopped pear along with 3/4 cup water in a blender and blend till smooth. Use as required.
Pears can be grated thinly or thickly using a grater as required by the recipe. Thinly grated apple can be added to beverage or in salad. This is best for garnishing any variety of dishes.
Dice or cube ingredients by cutting them into uniform strips. Line up the strips with your non-working hand and cut them into square pieces. Cube them as per the recipe's need regarding the size of the cubes, (for example, "cut into ½-inch cubes"). Small Cubes are wonderful addition to salads whereas large ones are relished on their own
Choose ripe, mature fruits of ideal quality for eating fresh. Wash and peel pears. Cut lengthwise into halves and remove cores. A melon baller or metal measuring spoon is suitable for coring pear. Chop it into thick or thin halves as preferred.
Pears can be sliced thickly or thinly using a sharp knife. It can be either relished or used a s garnishing agent on sweet preparation or cakes.
How to Select
Since pears are very perishable once they are ripe, the pears you find at the market will generally be unripe and will require a few days of maturing. Look for pears that are firm green coloured pear, but not too hard. They should have a smooth skin that is free of bruises or mold. The color of good quality pears may not be uniform as some may feature brown-speckled patches on the skin; this is an acceptable characteristic and oftentimes reflects a more intense flavor. Avoid pears that are punctured or have dark soft spots.
" Fresh pears are delicious eaten as is after gently washing the skin by running it under cool water and patting it dry.
" Combine diced pears with mustard greens, watercress, leeks and walnuts for a delicious salad.
" Serve pears with cheese for a delightful dessert.
" Add chopped pears, grated ginger and honey to millet porridge for a pungently sweet breakfast treat.
" Core pears, and poach in apple juice or wine.
How to Store
Pears should be left at room temperature to ripen. Once their skin yields to gentle pressure, they are ripe and ready to be eaten. If you will not be consuming the pears immediately once they have ripened, you can place them in the refrigerator where they will remain fresh for a few days. If you want to hasten the ripening process, place them in a paper bag, turning them occasionally, and keep them at room temperature. Storing pears in sealed plastic bags or restricted spaces where they are in too close proximity to each other should be avoided since they will have limited exposure to oxygen, and the ethylene gas that they naturally produce will greatly increase their ripening process, causing them to degrade. Pears should also be stored away from other strong smelling foods, whether on the countertop on in the refrigerator, as they tend to absorb smells.
" Since their skin provides some of their fiber, it is best to not peel the fruit but eat the entire pear. Pears fiber does a lot more than help prevent constipation and ensure regularity.
" Pear juice is safe to be introduced to infants as they are mild, yet healthful.
" Pears have anti-oxidant and anti-carcinogen glutathione which help prevent high blood pressure and stroke.
" The high vitamin C and copper content act as good anti-oxidants that protect cells from damages by free radicals.
" The high content of pectin in pears makes it very useful in helping to lower cholesterol levels.
" You can get quick and natural source of energy from pear juice, due largely to its high amounts of fructose and glucose.
" The cooling effect in pear is excellent in relieving fever. Best way to bring a fever down quickly is by drinking a big glass of pear juice.
" The anti-oxidant nutrients in pears are critical in building up your immune system. Drink pear juice when you feel a cold coming.
" Pear juice has an anti-inflammatory effect and helps relieve sufferers of much pain in various inflammatory conditions.
" Pears contain high level of boron. Boron helps the body to retain calcium, thus prevents or retards osteoporosis.
" The high content of folate (folic acid) prevents neural tube defects in infants.
" The summer heat may cause children to have shortness of breath with excessive phlegm. Drink pear juice during this period to help clear the phlegm.
" The pears are in season during the summer for a reason. Drinking pear juice every morning and night helps to cool your body down during this time. It nourishes the throat and helps prevent throat problems.
" Boil two Chinese pear juice with some raw honey and drink warm. This is extremely healing for the throat and the vocal cord.
" Packed with essential nutrients Pear is a low-calorie fruit that's naturally sweet and is a great choice for a healthy snack or dessert to satisfy a sweet tooth or for a natural, quick source of energy.
Pear has a Glycemic Index of 38 which is low. Glycemic Index are for foods you eat, ranks carbohydrate-containing foods by how quickly they digest and raise your blood sugar or glucose levels. Foods rank from 0 to 50 are low GI, 51 to 69 are medium and 70 to 100 are high. Foods that are high in GI are not suitable for weight loss and diabetics. Foods like Pear have a low GI and hence don't spike your glucose level as they are absorbed slowly. Great for weight loss.