December is National Pear Month with December 8th designated World Pear Day. Pears are one of my favorite fruits. Because of overlapping seasons of availability pears are in season nearly year round but I find are especially good this time of year.
Pears are a good source of fiber especially if you eat them with the skin on. One medium pear supplies around 100 calories and 24% of your RDA. Pears are also a good source of potassium and vitamin C. They contain no saturated fat, sodium or cholesterol.
There are 10 major varieties of pears:
Green Anjou: sweet and juicy with a hint of citrus flavor
Red Anjou: juicy and slightly tangy
Bartlett: probably the best known; sweet flavor
Red Bartlett: super juicy and sweet
Bosc:crisp, sweet, brown skinned
Comice: sometimes known as the Christmas pear; succulent and creamy
Concorde: crunchy and sweet
Forelle: tangy and crisp
Seckel: bite size; kids usually enjoy eating these
Starkrimson: bright red with a floral essence
When choosing pears, look for those that are firm to the touch and free from bruises and blemishes. Pears ripen from the inside out. Allow them to ripen at room temperature. Most pears will show little change in color when ripe. To test for ripeness, gently press on the neck of the pear. It should give a little to the pressure if it is ripe. If your pears are already ripe and you want to slow the process down a little bit you may put them in the refrigerator.
Pears may be eaten raw or cooked. The best varieties for poaching, baking or grilling are Bosc, Anjou, or Concorde. They have a denser flesh, hold their shape better, and keep their flavor. Pears will turn brown once they have been cut. To help alleviate the problem brush the cut surfaces with a solution of half water and half lemon juice.
If you find your pears have gotten overripe they can still be used in smoothies, sauces, soups and stews.
Spend Smart Eat Smart has a delicious recipe for a Crisp Fruit Salad using pears, apples and raisins.
I hope you will enjoy eating some pears during National Pear Month!