As the season rapidly changes, we have to say farewell to both warm days and the beloved seasonal fruits that go along with them. Goodbye, juicy watermelon. So long, luscious strawberries. But chin up fruit lovers, there's a new star in town!
One sweet fruit that's taking centre stage this season? Pears! The imagery that comes to mind involves an autumn afternoon in western France, sitting beneath a tree with a good book in one hand and a perfectly ripe pear in the other. Can't quite afford the plane ticket to Europe? No need to worry -- the deliciously fresh and lightly sweet quality of pears can be enjoyed in countless recipes and served in the comfort of your own home this fall season.
It is best to select pears that are hard on the surface with the slightest give when gentle pressure is applied around the stem. So, if you're purchasing pears in preparation for a mouth-watering recipe in a few days, make sure to buy slightly firmer or under ripe; hard pears will ripen to the perfect sweetness if left on the counter at room temperature. Or, if you're walking past a market and suddenly crave a sugary snack, pick up a pear that's supple to the touch!
Pears are best kept at room temperature while they ripen. Leaving them in a bowl or basket on the counter in regular light are perfect conditions to allow their soft and delicious potential to come out! Once ripened, it's best to store in the fridge, in a single layer to ensure that no bruising or discolouration occurs.
Another great attribute that pears possess? They are so adaptable in their uses and fit into such a wide variety of recipes, the options are endless! They can be boiled into an applesauce consistency, baked in a chip form, caramelized with spices like cinnamon, and of course enjoyed raw.
The Greeks adored pears, too, it seems. They were both eaten in ancient Greece as well as used regularly for curing nausea and flu-like symptoms. Pear leaves were also commonly smoked in Europe before the introduction of tobacco.
Anatomy of the Pear
Green or red in colour these firm, mild-flavoured pears keep their shape when cooked making them an ideal addition to recipes that call for baking, roasting or poaching. These are your basic all purpose pear.
Round like an apple. Crunchy texture has a mild flavour and lends itself perfectly to slaws and salads.
Recognized by most as the pear mom sent them in their lunch box, these golden beauties are a cooks dream. Their sweet flesh is perfect for baking or eating raw, however, if being used for cooking making sure to buy slightly unripe. Bartlett pears ripen and bruise faster than most varieties so store them in the fridge in a single layer for optimal shelf life.
Not an ideal pear for snacking because of its touch exterior skin. These pears can be hard to pin point as ripe, but when they are their dense sweet flesh is addictive. Easily recognizable as the rough brown skinned pear, we love saving this rustic fruit for baking.
A cheese plate’s favourite pear. One of the few pears that develop red streaks as it ripens; these pears hold their shape beautiful and lend a very subtle acidity to creamier cheeses.
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