My Mother-in-Law is blessed with a pear tree. It isn’t the prettiest tree, as several of the neighborhood kids have climbed it breaking branches, and for years we didn’t even know it was a pear tree, because it stood barren. But finally the last four years or so, after some much needed rain, this ugly little tree has produced a pear bounty! Not just a bounty, but a boat load of some of the juiciest, sweetest pears I have ever had! Such a treat!
Since my MIL can’t eat them all, she is kind enough to share, and as soon as the late August heat wave rolls around and those plump little pears start falling from the tree, she calls me over to pick as many as I can reach. Needless to say, because we are blessed with so many pears, I am always looking for some new recipes to use them up. Today, I am sharing an “In Season” post (it’s been awhile!) and highlighting some tips, tricks and recipes using this fresh seasonal fruit!
In Season: Pear season begins in late summer (August/September) with Bartlett pears and continues through the cold winter months (January) when Anjou pears hit their peak.
Nutrition: Pears are a nutrient dense food. They are an excellent source of fiber and vitamins A and C. Pears are low in calories, and are a sodium free, fat free, and cholesterol free food.
Purchasing: Pears, like most fruit, are usually picked when slightly under-ripe and improve flavor and texture after picking. When purchasing pears, look for pears that are bright in color, free of dark spots or blemishes and firm to the touch. Firmer pears are best for cooking, while riper pears are more tender and juicy and best for snacking.
Storing: Storing firmer pears at room temperature will cause the pears to ripen more quickly. For quicker ripening, store pears at room temperature in a bowl with bananas. Softer pears should be refrigerated and enjoyed within 2-3 days.
There are approximately 10 varieties of pears grown in the US. Check out the most common below:
- Bartlett: This is the most common variety of pears and comes with both in a yellow/greenish and/or red coloring (depending on the ripening stage). Bartlett pears have that classic pear shape and flavor and are crisp and tart (when dark green) or juicy and sweet when ripe (yellowish green). These pears are commonly used for canning but are also great for snacking or adding to salads and cheese platters.
- Anjou: Are actually the most abundant variety of pear, because they can grow year round. They are larger and have more of an egg shape. While they can come in darker green and red colors, the Anjou pears do not change colors when ripened. To check for ripeness, gently press the top of the pear. If the pear “gives” slightly, it is ready to enjoy. Anjou pears tend to be more firm yet juicy, making them the ideal pear for cooking and snacking.
- Bosc: This long and skinny pear a dull brownish color, has a firmer more dense skin. Due to this and their strong honey like flavor, Bosc pears are ideal for use in baking, broiling or poaching and are great when pared with strong spices like cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom.
- Starkrimson: Are commonly referred to as red pears due to their deep crimson color. They are extremely soft and juicy. They have a light, almost floral taste and scent and are great in salads and paired with cheese or wine. Due to their soft texture these pears should be used immediately.
- Seckels: Are tiny and chubby. They tend to be more bland in taste and have a more gritty texture. They are best used in cooking.
Looking for some fresh, seasonal pear recipes? Check out the collection below with more than 20 recipes from Kitchen Concoctions and around the web!
Pear Recipes From Kitchen Concoctions:
Pear Recipes From Around the Web:
Poached Pear Salad with Blue Cheese, Spiced Caramel Walnuts and Blackberry Jam Vinaigrette (Culinary Concoctions by Peabody)
Vanilla Bean Cupcakes with Caramel Pear Butter Center (The Kitchen Prep Blog)
Pear Pie Bars (Bluebonnets and Brownies)
Pear Spiked Applesauce (Kitchen Concoctions)
Korean BBQ Chicken Tacos with Asian Pear and Jicama Slaw (Taste and Tell)
Brie, Fig and Pear Panini (MJ and Hungry Man)
Tea Poached Pears with Soba Noodles (Stetted)
Challah Pear Pudding with Salted Caramel Sauce (Austin Gastronomist)
Pomegranate, Pear and Gorgonzola Salad (What Jew Wanna Eat)
Lovely Delicious Pear Vanilla Jam (Food in Jars)
Crepes with Asian Pears Compote (La casa sin tiempo)
Brown Sugar Clafoutis with Pears (Orangette)
Pear Bread (Lick the Bowl Good)