The pear tree is related to the apple, almond and apricot trees. The pear’s edible skin is colored yellow, brown, red or green; it is usually soft and thin. The pear has a fine white or cream-colored flesh, sometimes slightly grainy around and inside the core. The flesh can be more or less juicy, melting and aromatic depending on the variety.
Varieties of Pears
D’Anjou: is originally from France. It has a very juicy, smooth flesh.
Bartlett: is an English pear known in Europe as a “Williams pear”. Its skin goes from light green to golden yellow when mature. Its white flesh in not grainy and very aromatic.
Red Bartlett: or “red Williams”, has the same taste as the Bartlett. Both tolerate cooking very well.
Bosc: is originally from Belgium; is skin is thicker and rougher than other pears. Its white, juicy, grainy and very aromatic flesh is well suited to cooking and poaching.
Comice: is originally from France. Its tender yellow-green skin often shows hints of pink or brown when the fruit is ripe. Its yellow-white flesh is one of the most juicy and sweet, and is very aromatic. It is considered the best and most refined variety of pear. It works very well with delicate cheeses.
Conference: has a white, creamy and juicy flesh that is sweet and refreshing.
Packham: is originally from Australia. It resembles the Bartlett pear in color and flavor, but has a less regular shape. Its green skin becomes slightly yellow when ripe. Its white flesh is juicy and sweet.
Passe-Crassane: is originally from France. It keeps well. Its skin is thick and its flesh is white, slightly grainy, very juicy and tasty, melting in the mouth.
Rocha: is originally from Portugal. Its flesh becomes creamy and smooth when mature.
Choose: smooth pears that are firm but not too hard, with no bruises or mold.
At Room Temperature: for ripening. Several varieties remain green when mature; they are ready to eat if the flesh yields to a light finger pressure around the stem. Eat quickly, as their flesh tends to rot easily.
In The Fridge: ripe; a few days. As pears are fragile, do not store on top of one another and avoid placing them in a bag or airtight container. Keep them away from apples, onions, potatoes, cabbages, and other strong smelling foods, as they easily absorb odors.
In The Freezer: cooked.
To prevent pear flesh from oxidizing, eat or cook pears immediately, or sprinkle with lemon, lime or orange juice.
SERVING IDEAS FOR PEARS
Pears are eaten plain, cooked, dried or candied. They are made into compote, coulis, jelly, jam, juice, vinegar, eau-de-vie and liqueur (Poiré, Poire Wiliam, an eau-de-vie using the Williams variety). Pears work well with apples, quince, chocolate and ginger.
They are cooked as a compote or poached in wine or syrup (choose fruits that re slightly under-ripe.
Pears are used in fruit salads, sorbets, yogurts, soufflés, pies and charlottes as well as served with various sauces and flavorings.
Pears are used in chutneys and marinades.
They add an unusual touch to mixed salads. They are delicious with sweet onions and slightly bitter veggies (cress, radicchio, dandelion, and Belgium endive).
Pears work well with Brie, camembert, cheddar, goat cheese and Roquefort.
Pears are delicious with prosciutto or Parma ham.
DID YOU KNOW?
Did you know that dried pears are an excellent source of potassium? Pears are also represent a rich source of fiber. The nutrients in dried pears are more concentrated.
An unripe pear can be digestible and have a laxative effect.