Pears are another one of Fall’s Fabulous Fruits that are taking up lots of shelf space at your market and local farmer’s markets. The taste and texture of pears ranges from sweet to buttery, and soft to crisp. Some pears are better for eating raw, while others are just perfect for baking and poaching.
Naturally fat- and sodium-free, pears are an excellent source of fiber (6 grams), vitamin C, and potassium, for only 100 calories.
All of the varieties of pears are great for eating raw, either alone or paired with some cheese or nuts. Throw one into your lunch sack for a tasty snack or try stirring some chopped pears and ground cinnamon into your morning hot cereal for a boost of flavor and nutrition.
- Anjou – refreshingly sweet and juicy with a hint of citrus
- Red Anjou – aromatic, juicy, fresh and sweet
- Bartlett – signature pear flavor with abundant juice
- Red Bartlett – juicy and sweet with a floral essence
- Bosc – crisp and woodsy with a honey sweetness
- Comice – succulent, buttery, and exceptionally sweet
- Concorde – crunchy and earthy with a hint of vanilla
- Forelle – crisp, tangy, and refreshingly sweet
- Seckel – bite-sized, crunchy and ultra-sweet
- Starkrimson – aromatic, moist and sweet with a floral essence
Cooking with Pears
The best varieties for baking, grilling, and poaching are Bosc, Anjou, and Concorde, as they are denser varieties and will hold their shape better. Their flavor is also one that will not overpower a dish. Try using them in the Pear Pancake recipe.
Caring for your Pears
If your pears are very hard, you can ripen them by placing them in a sealed brown paper bag with an apple, and leave the bag on your kitchen counter for a few days. The ethylene gas that is released by the apple will speed up the ripening process. Once the pears are at the appropriate ripeness, store them in the refrigerator, which will slow down further ripening.
Pears are very sensitive to oxidation, which means they will turn brown once they’re cut. If you plan on serving sliced or cubed pears in a salad, make sure to give them a “bath” in a solution of 50% water and 50% lemon juice before serving. This will slow down the oxidation and keep their beautiful creamy color.
- 1-2 Anjou pears, cut into small pieces
- 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
- 1/2 cup nonfat milk
- 1/2 cup egg substitute
- 1/2 tbs. pure vanilla extract
- pinch sea salt
- 1/2 tbs. ground cinnamon
- 2 tbs. agave nectar
- Preheat the oven to 400F.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, milk, egg, vanilla, cinnamon, salt,and agave. Whisk until completely smooth. Set aside.
- I use a 10-inch ovenproof skillet for this recipe. Coat the skillet with canola oil cooking spray and place over medium-high heat until hot. Add the pears and saute 2 minutes. Add the batter to the skillet and swirl the pan to coat all of the pears in the batter. Immediately place the skillet into the oven. Bake for 20 minutes.
- Remove from oven and transfer to a cutting board. Slice into 6 generous pieces and serve at once.
- Top with maple-yogurt sauce – mix 1/2 cup nonfat plain yogurt with 2 tbs. pure maple syrup.
Grilled cheese and pear sandwich
- 8 slices whole wheat bread
- 4 slices cheddar cheese (white or orange)
- 2 firm, but ripe Bartlett, Bosc, or Anjou pears sliced in half and then sliced into 4 slices for each half
- Coat a nonstick griddle or large skillet with canola oil cooking spray and place over medium-high heat until hot.
- Assemble the sandwiches by placing one slice of cheese and 4 slices of pear on one piece of bread. Top with the second slice of bread. Place the sandwiches into the skillet and cook 2 minutes per side, or until golden brown.
- Remove from the pan and slice in half and serve immediately.