The French D’Anjou is a green, bell-shaped pear that’s perfect for snacking, baking or sliced into salads. When fully ripe, the D’Anjou is so sweet and juicy, you’ll want to keep a napkin handy. The only problem is figuring out when it’s ripe. Unlike the green Bartlett, the D’Anjou does not change color as it ripens. It remains green even when fully ripe. The trick is to check the neck by gently pressing it with your thumb. When the pear gives slightly, it’s ready. Why the neck? Pears are climacteric fruit. They ripen off the tree and from the inside out, from the core outward. The slender neck is the spot on the pear closest to the core. If you waited for the pear’s fat bottom to give to gentle pressure, the pear would be overripe on the inside.
Most of our D’Anjou pears are grown in Oregon and Washington. You’ll find them retailing for 79 to 99 cents per pound.
Michael Marks is the marketing manager for FreshPoint.
In the Bins
Local farms, Coachella Valley
$3.99 to $4.99 per pound
Tips: Choose firm ones, not soft ones. The oval Nagami is good, but the sweet, round Meiwa is better, especially for marmalades.
$1.99 to $2.99 each
Tips: They may look like an ugly, supersized celery, but they are a seasonal staple in Italy. They oxidize very quickly, so plunge cut pieces into water with lemon to prevent browning.
San Joaquin Valley
99 cents to $1.49 per pound
Tips: Also known as Japanese sweet potatoes, they have very pale, even white flesh. Use them as you would regular sweet potatoes.
By PETE PETERSEN
Special to The Oregonian
The workhorse of the pear world is ready to wobble onto the scene.
I’m talking about green d’Anjou pears, the variety that’s never trouble and always useful. These pears thrive in the Pacific Northwest, where production is up 30 percent over last year and is expected to fill nearly 30 million 40-pound shipping boxes. Compare this to the next most prolific pear, the Bartlett, which weighs in at just under 5 million boxes.
Of course, the main draw of any fruit is its flavor, and green d’Anjou pears have a light sweetness with a slight tanginess. My daughter has always favored this pear despite its dour green color and rather full, un-pear-like shape. Asked why, she says, “It’s just nice, has smooth skin and flesh, and it’s sweet without being syrupy. Y’know, it’s just like my fluffy Gramma Roxy.” There you go. Grab a bag of green d’Anjou pears and head over the river to grandmother’s house.
Look for: Stout and green, the d’Anjou is about equal in its length as it is in its diameter, which usually ranges from 3 to 4 inches. The lettuce-green skin dulls as it ripens, but never changes to yellow like a Bartlett.
Unlike Asian pears, European-type pears like d’Anjou decay from the inside out. Mature green d’Anjou pears will have a slight surface gloss. As they ripen, the skin develops a waxy feel and the gloss dulls to a matte finish. Commonly, the skin will have a few russet spots. These tan burnished marks may cover a silver-dollar-size area usually near the blossom end opposite the stem. A few of those marks are fine, but if the marks dominate the surface or appear blackened or gray, the flesh is likely to be woody so choose other pears.
Grip the pear between your thumb and forefinger at the stem end. Grasp it where the neck would be, if this pear had a neck, but expect no more than a slight give. A few wizened marks at the stem are fine as long as the give is only slight. I regret the need to write it, but please never pinch this or any pear. You’ll learn nothing from that exercise, but your harm will show up hours later as a mushy bruise.
Purists may disagree, but I say err toward the firm side when serving this pear. If properly aged before marketing, the green d’Anjou always has a nice flavor whether slightly soft or crunchy as an apple.
When: The fruit is harvested in September, with the best green d’Anjou pears coming to market in November. They remain available well into spring.
To store: Keep green d’Anjou pears in a loose plastic bag in the coldest part of the fridge. They need consistent cold temperatures and will hold seven to 10 days. Ripen pears, only as many as you can use, for two to three days at room temperature. Once a pear hits peak ripeness, consume it within a day or so.
Basic preparation: Eat this pear as you would an apple, or use it fresh in salads. I find that fresh slices will hold an hour or so without oxidizing and turning brown. But it’s a versatile pear variety and can also be baked in dishes. The core of the green d’Anjou is thicker than most other varieties so it’s worth cutting out.
Pete Petersen is a Portland produce expert. Reach him at [email protected]
- Care Of Red Anjou Pears: How To Grow Red D’Anjou Pears
- Red Anjou Pear Information
- Growing Red Anjou Pears
- ABOUT RED D’ANJOU PEARS
- RED D’ANJOU PEARS TASTE & RIPENESS
- Willunga Farmers Market
- 10 Different Types of Pears: How to Pick Pears and Cook With Pear Varieties
- Red Bartlett
- Green Anjou
- Red Anjou
- A Healthy Fruit with an Aristocratic Heritage
- Choosing, Ripening, and Storing
- Another Option: Freezing
- Made Delicious Your Way
- Get Reacquainted
Care Of Red Anjou Pears: How To Grow Red D’Anjou Pears
Red Anjou pears, also sometimes called Red d’Anjou pears, were introduced to the market in the 1950s after being discovered as a sport on a Green Anjou pear tree. Red Anjou pears taste similar to the green variety, but they offer a stunning, deep red color that adds a distinctive look to any dish that calls for pears. Grow this pear tree for a great addition to your home orchard.
Red Anjou Pear Information
Red Anjou is a sport, which means it developed as a natural mutation on a Green Anjou tree. One branch with red pears was discovered on a tree in Medford, Oregon. These first examples of the variety were then used to create Red Anjou pear trees.
The flavor of this pear is sweet with just a taste of citrus. The flesh is cream to blush pink in color, dense, and firm. What really separates the Red Anjou from other pears
is the beautiful red skin. It can range from bright crimson to deep maroon and sometimes has streaks of gold or green.
You can use Red Anjou pears for fresh eating, but they also hold up well when poached. Also try them in baked goods, like tarts and pies, in salads, and grilled or cooked in savory dishes. The color makes a stunning addition to a lot of different recipes.
Growing Red Anjou Pears
Growing Red Anjou pear trees will add a new, delightful fruit to your fall harvest. The pears are ready to pick in the fall, but they can actually be stored and enjoyed all winter. Adding this tree to your home orchard will extend your ability to enjoy fresh fruit throughout the winter months.
Red Anjou can be grown in zones 5 through 8, and these trees do need another variety for pollination. Choose another variety that ripens sooner for a continual harvest. Good options are Bartlett and Moonglow.
Pear trees need full sun, and they prefer loamy soil that drains well and is just slightly acidic. Loosen up the soil and add organic material before putting the tree in the ground. Water your tree regularly for the first growing season, and then in subsequent years water only when rainfall is less than about an inch per week.
Prune the tree from the beginning, shaping and thinning it with a central leader during the dormant months.
Red Anjou pears are ready to be picked just before they ripen. The color does not change much, so it may take some guessing the first season you collect a harvest. Let the pears ripen indoors and store them in a cool, dark spot for the winter months.
Red Anjou pears, additionally occasionally called Red d’Anjou pears, were presented to the marketplace in the 1950 s after being uncovered as a sporting activity on a Green Anjou pear tree. Red Anjou pears taste comparable to the eco-friendly range, however they supply a sensational, crimson shade that includes a distinct aim to any type of meal that asks for pears. Expand this pear tree for a fantastic enhancement to your house orchard.
Red Anjou is a sport, which suggests it established as an all-natural anomaly on a Green Anjou tree. One branch with red pears was uncovered on a tree in Medford, Oregon. These initial instances of the range were after that utilized to develop Red Anjou pear trees.
The taste of this pear is pleasant with simply a preference of citrus. The flesh is lotion to flush pink in shade, thick, as well as company. What truly divides the Red Anjou from various other pears is the gorgeous red skin. It can vary from intense crimson to deep maroon as well as occasionally has touches of gold or eco-friendly.
You can utilize Red Anjou pears for fresh consuming, however they additionally stand up well when poached. Attempt them in baked items, like pies as well as tarts, in salads, as well as barbequed or prepared in tasty recipes. The shade makes a sensational enhancement to a great deal of various dishes.
Growing Red Anjou pear trees will certainly include a brand-new, fascinating fruit to your autumn harvest. The pears prepare to select in the autumn, however they can really be saved as well as taken pleasure in all wintertime. Including this tree to your house orchard will certainly expand your capacity to delight in fresh fruit throughout the winter season.
Red Anjou can be expanded in areas 5 with 8, as well as these trees do require one more range for pollination. Pick one more range that ripens faster for a consistent harvest. Excellent alternatives are Bartlett as well as Moonglow.
Pear trees require complete sunlight, as well as they favor fertile dirt that drains pipes well as well as is simply somewhat acidic. Relax the dirt as well as include natural product prior to placing the tree in the ground. Water your tree on a regular basis for the initial expanding period, and after that in succeeding years water just when rains is much less than regarding an inch each week.
Prune the treefrom the start, forming as well as thinning it with a main leader throughout the inactive months.
Red Anjou pears prepare to be chosen prior to they ripen. The shade does not transform a lot, so it might take some presuming the initial period you accumulate a harvest. Allow the pears ripen inside your home as well as save them in a trendy, dark place for the winter season.
Red d’Anjou Pears Availability:
D’Anjou Pears are harvested in August and are best enjoyed by October, but thanks to their robust nature they are available to you all year round.
ABOUT RED D’ANJOU PEARS
D’Anjou pears are thought to have originated in France, near the city of Angers. They appeared in the United States in 1842 and today represent 34% of the pear market. D’Anjou pears come in two different varieties: Red and Green, both of which are delectable. The two varieties, Red and Green, differ little in taste though their appearance sets them apart from each other. The Red D’Anjou pear offers a deep, luxurious maroon color that sets them apart as one of the more showy varieties, often making them prized as a centerpiece for your table. The Green D’Anjou pear has a green exterior that remains green even as it ripens. This is something of an oddity for green pears as most green varieties (Royal Williams or Bartlett for example) turn yellow as they grow ready to eat.
RED D’ANJOU PEARS TASTE & RIPENESS
Red D’Anjou pears—are a large, stout, white-fleshed pear variety renown for their abundant juices and sweet, brisk flavor. Like most pears, the D’Anjou ripens fully after its been harvested. Just set them out at room temperature for a couple days. Since both Red and Green D’Anjou pears will change in color only slightly as they ripen, the very best way to check the ripeness of your D’Anjou is to Check the Neck.
Willunga Farmers Market
Mclaren Vale Orchards produce the fruit, wine and pistachios featured in this divine yet ridiculously simple recipe. Red D’Anjou pears are ideal because they hold their texture and flavour really well throughout cooking. The grapes that make the cabernet sauvignon are pesticide free and and are grown lean so that the vines work harder to produce more skin which gives the wine its ballsy flavour, and the pistachios are harvested from some of the oldest trees in Australia. Try them, they are deliciously sweet. Serve the pears in their juice, scattered with the roughly chopped pistachios and a big dollop of Alexandrina Cheese Company’s pure jersey cream.
6 Red D’Anjou Pears, peeled
150ml McLaren Vale Orchards cabernet sauvignon
150g raw sugar
1 star anise
1 vanilla bean, scrapped
1 cinnamon stick
Pour the wine and water into a saucepan then bring to the boil. reduce the heat to medium then add the sugar and stir until dissolved. Add the spices then simmer until the sauce reduces by 1/3.
Gently slide in the pears and cover with baking paper. Keep the liquid at a very low boil and simmer the pears until cooked through, 30-40 minutes, depending on the pears. Remove from heat and let the pears cool in their liquid.
- Anjou Pear: A firm, mild-flavored pear that is perfectly juicy. Red and green Anjou pears are nearly identical in flavor.
- Asian Pear: Full-on crunchy and similar in texture and shape to apples, this is a very mild-flavored pear with a soft, grainy texture.
- Bartlett (or Williams) Pear: This is the perfect choice when you want a really, really juicy pear. Both red and green Bartletts are also among the sweetest pears you’ll find.
- Bosc Pear: These pears are wonderfully crisp, with a delicate sweet flavor that resembles the stereotypical pear taste perfectly.
- Comice Pear: Not as grainy as classic pears, this variety has a great clean and bright pear flavor that’s surprisingly sweet. It’s soft and juicy, and arguably the best choice to eat raw.
- Concorde Pear: Juicy, with a vanilla-like flavor and smooth texture, these pears are crisp right after harvest and soften as they ripen.
- French Butter and Seckel Pears: These varieties can be eaten raw, but they need to be fully and completely ripe for it to be a pleasant experience. Even slightly underripe versions have a sharp, tannic hit.
10 Different Types of Pears: How to Pick Pears and Cook With Pear Varieties
There are about 3,000 estimated types of pear grown worldwide. Here’s a few to know:
- ASIAN: Asian pears have a crisp texture, almost like a cross between a jicama and an apple, earning it its other moniker, the “apple pear.” It features a rough, light brown skin, and a mild, sweet juice. There are many different Asian pear varieties, though Hosui and Nijisseki tend to be the most popular abroad.
- BOSC: Bosc pears have a matte, almost mottled look to their skin, with rougher patches of light brown overlaying the green skin beneath. They’re highly aromatic and hold their shape well when sliced into dishes like a radicchio salad or baked into a pear tart.
- COMICE: Somewhere in between the Asian and Bosc pears in tart fruitiness and soft, not-too-grainy texture lies a jewel among European pears: the Comice pear, with its wide, round shape.
- BARTLETT: Also known as “Williams Pears”, super soft Bartlett pears are high on the juicy side of the scale. They’re found as both “red Bartlett” and “green Bartlett.” These are the classic “bruised pear in the bottom of the lunchbox” variety you likely remember from childhood—packed with pear flavor but ultrasensitive.
- ANJOU: You can find this mild, common variety listed as both “red Anjou” or “green Anjou,” but there’s no marked difference in taste between them. Red Anjou pears have a burnished rusty color and tend to be slightly more elongated than the green variety.
- FORELLE: One of the smaller, more snackable varieties of pear, Forelle pears display a good example of what’s called “lenticels,” or pear freckles, which occur in bright red swaths over light green flesh.
- CONCORDE: Bright green, with a long, tapered shape, Concorde pears look a bit like the Platonic pear, with maybe a hint of blush around the widest section. They’re particularly sweet through the ripening stage—meaning you’re likely to be happy even if it’s a bit underripe—and have what’s been described as a faint vanilla flavor.
- FRENCH BUTTER: A delicate European variety that’s great for, you guessed it, making pear butter. French Butter pears turn a faint gold when ripe and have a creamy, juicy texture.
- TAYLOR’S GOLD: Drama: Taylor’s Gold is thought to be a mutant version of the stately Comice, but you needn’t compare the two to appreciate their virtues. This pear, with its light golden-brown russet skin and sweet aromatics, was discovered in New Zealand in the 80s.
- SECKEL: Seckel pears are a two- to three-bite kind of pear that fit perfectly in the palm of your hand. Thanks to their size and their firm flesh, they’re good candidates for baking or canning wherever a whole pear presentation would be striking: think poires en croute or poached in red wine and topped with whipped cream.
Did you know December is National Pear Month? No? Yes? You don’t care? Well, that’s okay, we don’t pay too much attention to fake food holidays either. But we do care about pears, and since the best time to eat them is now, December is a great month to talk about this juicy fruit.
Commercially, the United States harvests 10 types of pears, each with their own nuances and uses. Some are great to just munch on plain, others sing when paired with a soft, ripe cheese or sliced thin and put between bread with cheddar for a lovely grilled sandwich. You can also bake pears with warming spices for a festive dessert and toss some chopped fruit in a salad with pecans to give winter greens a nice, crisp sweetness.
Keep in mind that when shopping for pears you want to tenderly feel around the neck, right by the stem. If it’s slightly pliable, the pear is perfect. Too hard means not ripe, and too squishy means overripe. With that, here are 10 varieties of pears to look for.
It may not surprise you that the Starkrimson is named for its red-hued skin — at least that’s where the crimson part comes in. The star side of this large pear may derive from the fact that it rocks your taste buds with juicy sweetness and a mild, pleasant floral aftertaste. Despite the perfection found in each bite, this fruit originated as a result of spontaneous mutation, or sport, in Missouri in the 1950s. The brilliant bright red pear took over a tree in an orchard growing Clapp’s Favorite (a specialty American varietal). It was, quite literally, a glaring ruby light in the midst of green, causing the growers to stop and contemplate this variety. Luckily they did, and eventually the Starkrimson was taken over by the Stark Brothers Nursery, which is actually how the pear got its name, Stark-rimson. Because these pears are on the softer side, they are a great variety to eat plain or simply baked.
Season: August through January
On the firm side of the pear kingdom, the long, yellow-green Concorde provides a crisp, pleasing bite. Because of its dense flesh and the fact that this variety doesn’t oxidize as fast as other pears, it’s a great option for a pear, pecan and kale salad, in a fruit bowl or sliced for a cheese and charcuterie board. They also keep their shape well, so if you’re looking for a good varietal for poached pears, this is it. But how did this creamy, sweet pear come to be? The Concord is in fact a love match between the European Conference and American Comice pears.
Season: September through February
It might be hard to tell some pears apart, and the Bartlett is often confused with the aforementioned Concorde and the green Anjou. The difference is subtle, and if you remember that the Bartlett is the most pear-shaped of the pears, it should be easy. Also, the skin is a pale golden-green, almost yellow. A divergence also comes through in taste: This type hits all the notes one expects from a pear. It’s soft, juicy and sweet, but with a thick skin that can taste a little bitter. That’s why when you see canned pears, which are usually Bartletts, the skin is stripped clean, with just the tender fruit remaining. The first Bartletts were discovered in 1765 by a schoolmaster in England. His family name was Stair, and at first this fruit earned the moniker Stair’s Pear, a title that is so pleasing to say, we kind of wish it remained. Later the pear’s name changed to Williams’ Bon Chretien. Finally, the pear migrated to America around 1800 and was planted on an estate later owned by Enoch Bartlett. Bartlett didn’t know his pear already had repute, so he took over its cultivation and popularized the fruit under his name. They didn’t figure out the Williams and the Bartlett were the same pear until 1828, but at that point in America, the name Bartlett had stuck. With that in mind, eat them fresh or make an elevated grilled cheese sandwich. You can really use it for anything.
Season: September through February
Pretty much everything that was said about the green Bartlett can be said about the red, save that this variety came about as a sport, just like the Starkrimson. It was found on a standard Bartlett tree in Washington state in 1938, just a little bud that naturally sprouted. They dubbed it Max Red, a name that surely would have made this pear even more popular today. Still, you will find these blushing beauties all over the place, and they make a nice complement to their paler brethren.
Season: August to January
Though the Bosc appears to be everywhere, this type is actually an heirloom variety. You can pick them out by their tough-looking, brown-gold skin and long, elegant neck. Don’t worry because the outside looks a bit like leather; it’s actually quite palatable and easy to bite into. Once you do, you will be rewarded with a not-too-sweet, rich, crunchy bite of strong pear flavor. Since this pear offers firm, buttery flesh, it’s pleasing to nibble on. For the same reason, it’s also satisfactory to cook with a Bosc. You can use it to jazz up a pork dish, bake into muffins and slice thin for homemade pizza. The stories surrounding this pear are as numerous as the uses, and to this day disagreements remain as to its origin. Is it from France or Belgium? It has many names across the globe, including Buerré Bosc, Calabasse Bosc, Kaiser Alexander and Buerré d’Appremont. All came about in the early 1800s, not long before the Bosc pear made a statement in America, where it remains a popular choice. Treat yourself to a delicious cooked food and try your luck on the website of the Austrian quiz online roulette.
Season: September to April
If you are looking for a small, sweet, fat fruit bursting with ripe pear flavor, this is it. It’s the ultimate pear to pair with cheese as it goes with funky blues, sweet and creamy Camembert or sharp cheddar. Like many pears, this one hails from France (Angers to be exact) and was first cultivated in the mid-1800s. There they dubbed it Doyenné Du Comice, but here in the States we call it the Christmas Pear (note the red and green hue). A word to the wise: It’s popular during the holidays, but it’s also available before and after.
Season: September through March
Don’t be surprised if you see this varietal as d’Anjou. It’s the same thing, and that title pays homage to the fruit’s French-Belgium origin. While farmers have cultivated this pear all over Europe since the the early 19th century, it didn’t come to America until 1842. Thank goodness it did, since this plump, nearly spherical shaped pear offers a perfect balance of soft and sweet with a subtle lemony essence. Enjoy the Anjou raw or use it for baking, poaching and grilling. Really, it’s good for just about anything, which is perhaps why the Anjou remains one of the most popular varieties.
Season: September through May
What can be said about the maroon-hued Anjou that hasn’t been said about the green variety? Well, instead of the bright citrus qualities, you get a deeper, spicier essence. Other than that, it remains pretty similar. Like other red pears, the red Anjou came about spontaneously as a sport. This one was discovered near Medford, Oregon, in the 1950s.
Season: October through May
Don’t be fooled just because the Seckel is the smallest pear of all the commercial fruits; it packs a strong and unforgettable flavor and crisp, firm flesh — tiny slices of the pear help spruce up just about any cheese spread (bonus points for looking awesome in a fruit basket or for decorating a table). Another special thing about this petite fruit: It’s native to North America, perchance as a wild seedling from Philadelphia. We say possibly because the exact root hasn’t been confirmed. Another theory states that German immigrants brought the fruits with them and scattered the seeds, resulting in a hearty crop of Seckel pears.
Season: September through February
This little pear is almost as small as the Seckel, and almost as crisp. But since it’s not as hard or sweet, the Forelle makes a great snacking pear, especially for children. Haling from Saxony, Germany, these tiny fruits have been thoughtfully grown since the 1600s, making them one of the most historically traceable pears on the market. The first Forelles made the journey to the United States via German immigrants during the 1800s. The name stems from the German word for trout and was apparently given to the fruit based on the fish’s similar coloring.
Season: October through March
With all the exotic fruits available today, pears have their work cut out for them, when it comes to capturing the attention of discerning shoppers.
It’s high time we pay these oft-forgotten fruits some attention, and learn how to ripen, store, and prepare them to perfection.
A Healthy Fruit with an Aristocratic Heritage
In terms of cultivation, pears are an interesting fruit. Unlike apples that may be picked and eaten immediately, most pears mature, but do not ripen on the tree.
That’s right. They don’t get ripe swinging from a branch in the sunshine. According to the Oregon State University Extension Service, before they can ripen, they must go through a period of cooling that lasts from one day to six weeks, depending upon the variety.
This is generally done before the fruit makes its appearance in the produce aisle. It’s this “post-harvest chilling” that sparks the production of ethylene, the ripening hormone.
Luckily for us, at least a few varieties of this delicious fruit are available in grocery stores year round. The USDA’s Foods Fact Sheet states that one medium pear with the skin on contains 22% of the daily recommended value of fiber, and 15% of the suggested amount of calcium for a 2,000-calorie diet.
It is believed that some form of this healthy fruit grew wild in the forests of the Middle Ages. However, today’s popular varieties most likely date to nineteenth century France, and aristocratic landowners who cultivated them in competition with their neighbors.
The American-International Encyclopedic Cookbook
And, according to my 45-year-old American International Encyclopedic Cookbook by Anne London, still available on Amazon, we can thank them for today’s commercially grown d’Anjou (Anjou), Du Comice (Comice), Bosc, and Winter Nelis.
According to the experts at Washington State University, there are over 3,000 varieties grown around the world. Only 10 are grown commercially in the US Pacific Northwest, and these account for 84% of total US production.
There are two categories of European-style varieties: summer and winter.
Summer cultivars grown in the US are Bartlett, aka. Williams; Red Bartlett; Starkrimson; and Tosca. Tosca is not generally available outside western regions of the US.
Winter fruits include Bosc, Comice, Concorde, Forelle, Green Anjou, Red Anjou, and Seckel.
The most common types in US grocery stores across the nation are Green Anjou, Bartlett, and Bosc.
Comice generally make an appearance around the holidays, under a variety of brands. You’ll see giant, heirloom varieties featured prominently in gourmet gift baskets.
Seckel, said to originate in Philadelphia in the 1700s, make an appearance in farmers markets in my region in the fall. This bite-sized variety is prized for its exquisitely sweet flavor and spicy undertones.
Warren is another autumn treat I occasionally stumble upon in gourmet shops here in the Northeast. Considered by many to be the world’s most delicious variety, its origins are somewhat unclear. It seems to be American, and an exquisite combination of Seckel and Comice.
And finally, there’s a completely different type: the Asian pear.
Nine Asian varieties are currently grown in the Pacific Northwest.
Also members of the Pyrus genus, P. pyrifolia are usually sold under the generic name “Asian pear” or “apple pear,” and consumers seldom know which variety they are buying. These sweet fruits are unique in that they are crisp and round, like apples.
Unlike their traditional bell-shaped cousins, Asian types do not require ripening at home. Instead, they ripen on the tree, and generally arrive at grocery stores ready to eat.
Choosing, Ripening, and Storing
When choosing your pears to bring home, look for pieces that have no bruises or torn skin. Natural blemishes and variations in skin color have no effect on flavor.
Grasp the fruit in your hand, and gently press your thumb against the upper neck. If it yields, it’s ripe; if it doesn’t, it will need time to ripen at home.
The average ripening time for pears is about a week. Bartletts usually take 4 to 5 days, and d’Anjou require 7 to 10.
Simply leave the pieces of fruit side by side on a plate on the kitchen counter, until the necks yield to gentle pressure. Do not stack them, to avoid bruising and spoilage. Wait to wash the fruit until you are ready to eat or cook with it.
You may speed up the process by placing fruit in a paper bag to trap ethylene, the ripening hormone. Some folks add a ripe apple or banana to the bag for a jolt of ethylene gas. Either way, check on your fruit daily, remove them from the bag when the necks yield to gentle pressure, and don’t let your apple or banana rot!
And, if your fruit ripens before it’s needed, store in the refrigerator for up to five days in an airtight container or food storage bag. Return them to room temperature before serving.
The exception to the ripening process, as we mentioned, is the Asian type. It’s generally ripe when it arrives at the store and because its firm flesh does not soften with ripeness, the pressure test is not useful. Instead, a sweet fragrance indicates that this type is ready to eat.
Another Option: Freezing
Pears may be used to prepare a variety of tasty dishes, so you’ll want to keep some on hand.
Consider canning like grandma did, or you may try freezing for a ready supply during inclement weather, when shopping trips may be few and far between.
Not the best fruit for freezing, most types are quite soft when ripe. However, if you decide to try it, firm varieties like commercially available d’Anjou, or homegrown varieties like Baldwin or Kieffer, are your best bet.
I follow the instructions in the American International Encyclopedic Cookbook, slightly adapted to use the ingredients that I typically have on hand.
Stainless Steel Delightly Corer
The Delightly company makes a sturdy stainless steel, dishwasher-safe pear and apple corer that’s available on Amazon, and it’s excellent for removing the seeds from a lot of fruit quickly, if you’re working in big batches.
Check out our recipe for Freezer-Preserved Pears in Syrup (coming soon!)
If you like them frozen, you might want to check out our article, “The Yonanas Fruit Soft-Serve Maker Fulfills Your Sweetest Dreams,” to learn what you need to prepare a smooth and satisfying frozen fruit treat.
Made Delicious Your Way
All ripe pears are juicy and delicious. However, the softest are best eaten out of hand, and firmer ones are more suitable for cooking.
Bartlett and Comice are best eaten raw. They are the softest varieties, and they tend to disintegrate and melt away when cooked.
Anjou and Bosc retain their shape and texture quite well when cooked.
And, if your recipe calls for a crisp, crunchy fruit, Asian varieties are a great choice.
You’ll find this type of fruit is a great addition to salads of all kinds, including Baby Greens with Roquefort, or Bosc, Currant, and Hazelnut Salad.
And, I know your Sunday brunch guests will be delighted when you serve refreshing fruit-filled French Cosmopolitans, followed by a delectable Gingered Pear Coffee Cake with Streusel Topping.
The soft flesh and sweet juiciness of this special fruit is used to its best advantage in desserts like our harvest-time favorites: Maple Pear Crostini, Apple Pear Pie with Cardamom and Ginger, Ricotta Pear Stacks, and the epitome of gooey goodness, Pear Crisp.
Photo by Kendall Vanderslice.
If you have family members with dietary restrictions, like I do, you’re going to love this Vegan and Gluten-Free Nutty Pear Crumble, and Pear Custard Pie.
My first bite of a pear always takes me back to a childhood picnic, and a soft yellow Bartlett dripping juice down my chin.
Ripened to perfection, it is a feast unto itself.
So, imagine my joy when it’s paired with two additional favorites, tangy Roquefort and a glass of Cabernet!
Add pears to the shopping list before you forget, and give them the attention they deserve. You’re going to love having another favorite in your culinary repertoire!
If you’re a fruit grower, and find yourself with a bumper crop, see our articles, “Harvest Jams and Jellies: 4 Simple Steps to Making Your Own Sweet Spreads,” and “Foodal’s Ultimate Guide to Dehydrating Your Garden’s Bounty,” for additional ways to use every sweet and juicy morsel.
How do you like your Bartletts or Boscs? Tell us in the comments section below.
Pie photo by Kendall Vanderslice and all pear photos by Mike Quinn, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Product photos via Ty Crowell and Delightly.
About Nan Schiller
Nan Schiller is a writer from southeastern Pennsylvania. When she’s not in the garden, she’s in the kitchen preparing imaginative gluten- and dairy-free meals. With a background in business, writing, editing, and photography, Nan writes humorous and informative articles on gardening, food, parenting, and real estate topics. Having celiac disease has only served to inspire her to continue to explore creative ways to provide her family with nutritious locally-sourced food.