• 21Nov

    Wondering what to do with pears this season?   If you are trying to eat seasonally, pears are a great choice now!

    Growing up in Ohio, I never ate fresh pears.  They were always canned, gritty and pretty flavorless.  I never understood why anyone would like them.  Canned pears rank about as low as canned asparagus in my book.  If you’ve ever had canned asparagus, you know what I mean.

    Then I was introduced to fresh pears…

    As is often the situation, a fresh, seasonal pear is entirely different from a pear half in a can.  If you have never tried one, give it a shot now while they are in season.  Here’s what to try:

    Anjou Pears are the second-most recognizable pear in the US.  This egg-shaped pear is the most plentiful variety, which means you’ll find Anjou pears in the US during most of the year.  There are two varieties – red and green.

    Bartlett Pears are the most common variety in the US.  Bartletts can be yellow or red and have a true pear shape – wide at the bottom, narrow at the top.

    Bosc Pears have a brown skin and are considered a more elegant pear.  They are more firm and dense than other pears and despite what you may think, their brown skin is edible!

    No matter which pear variety you enjoy most, make sure they are ripe for the best flavor and texture!

    According to the Pear Bureau Northwest, you can use the Check the Neck for Ripeness™ daily by gently pressing your thumb near the stem end of the pear. When it gives slightly, the pear is ripe.

    Why “Check the Neck?”  Pears ripen from the inside out and the neck is the narrowest part of the pear.  If you wait until the bottom half becomes soft, the pear will be over-ripe.  When that happens, you won’t want to eat the pear raw, but it could make a great addition to a fruit smoothie or other recipe.

    Ashley and I made poached pears for our recent cooking demo at the Cancer Support Community Atlanta.  Check out her recipe below for a healthy dessert!

    1 vanilla bean

    6 firm pears such as Bosc or Barlett

    1.5 cups of low fat vanilla yogurt

    1/2 cup chopped walnuts

    6 cups water

    3 cups sugar

    2 cinnamon sticks

    Zest of 1 lemon

    Combine the water, sugar, cinnamon sticks, and lemon zest in a medium saucepan. Split vanilla bean lengthwise, scrape out the seeds and add both the seeds and the pod to the pan. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is completely dissolved, about 5 minutes. Peel the pears. Reduce the poaching liquid to a simmer and add the pears. Cook until      tender (the tip of a knife will go through the flesh of a pear with just a little resistance), about 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and cool the pears in the poaching liquid, until completely cooled, about 45 minutes. Serve the pears with some vanilla yogurt topped with walnuts and a little pear-poaching liquid.

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