By Jennifer A. Wickes
History / Geography
There is evidence to support that ancient Carthaginians grew pear trees. In Classical Greece, there is also evidence that pears were eaten both fresh and dried.
In the Middle Ages, it was believed that pears should be eaten at the end of a meal. The dieticians, at the time, believed that pears helped foods from "coming up."
In the United States, California, Oregon and Washington produce the majority of pears! France is also well known for its sweet pears!
Pyrus Communis, part of the Rosaceae family.
There are more than 5,000 varieties grown all over the world in the temperate climate zone. Some examples of varieties that you may find are: Bosc, Anjou, Bartlett, Comice, Williams etc.
July to Spring, depending on the variety.
How to Select
Pears taste better if picked while they are still hard and green and allowed to ripen at home. Choose one that has a nice scent and is free of any bruises.
For cooking: Bosc, Williams.
For eating raw: Comice, Anjou, Bartlett or Williams.
Store unripe fruit at room temperature. Once the fruit has ripened, place in the refrigerator if it will not be eaten immediately.
Phosphorus and Vitamin A.
Pears are believed, in certain cultures, to help increase a person's sex drive.
Chenin Blanc, French Colombard, Cabernet Sauvignon.
Anise seed, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, mace, tarragon.
1 lb. Fresh = 3 medium pears = 2 cups sliced.
1 lb. Dried = 3 cups = 5 1/2 cups cooked.
There is no need to peel a pear before eating, but if a recipe requires it, set the peeled pieced in some lemon water to prevent the fruit from browning.
Coring: If you don't have a corer, use a melon baller or vegetable peeler to help scoop out the core!
Additional Information (Web Sites)
GREEK PEAR SALAD
Yields: 4 servings
• 1/4 cup olive oil -- or vegetable oil
• 4 tablespoons white wine vinegar
• 2 teaspoons sugar
• 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
• 2 California Bartlett pear -- cored and sliced
• 1 cucumber -- thinly sliced
• 1 tomato -- cut into wedges
• 1/2 cup pitted black olive -- or Greek-style olives, drained
• 4 ounces feta cheese -- or Monterey Jack cheese, sliced
In medium bowl, combine oil, vinegar, sugar and oregano. Add pears and spoon dressing over to cover all surfaces. In salad bowl, combine cucumber, tomato, olives and cheese. Arrange pears on salad. Pour remaining dressing over top.
Tip: May be prepared up to 4 hours ahead.
Yields: 8 slices
• 2 1/2 tablespoons flour
• 3/4 teaspoon apple pie spice
• 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1/8 teaspoon salt
• 4 cups pear -- peeled and sliced
• 2 pie crusts -- unbaked
• 6 tablespoons brown sugar
• 1 1/2 tea spoons vanilla extract
• 1 tablespoon margarine
• 1 tablespoon milk
• Brown sugar
Mix first four ingredients. Toss with pears. Place in prepared unbaked piecrust. Top with 6 tablespoons brown sugar, the vanilla extract and the margarine. Cover with second unbaked crust. Brush milk and a little brown sugar on top of crust. Bake 15 minutes in preheated 425-degree oven. Reduce heat to 350 to 375 degrees for approximately 25 to 30 minutes or until crust is browned.
Yields: 5 servings
• 5 whole fresh Bartlett pears
• 3 cups water
• 1/2 cup distilled vinegar
• 3 teaspoons sugar
• 16 whole cloves
• Fresh ginger root -- cut into 4 small slices
• 3 sticks cinnamon
Peel, quarter, and core pears to measure about 5 cups. Combine remaining ingredients in a large kettle. Bring to a boil and simmer juices for 5 minutes. Then add pears and return to a boil. Simmer 15-20 minutes longer. Serve warm or refrigerate and serve chilled. Keeps well for several days.
Jennifer A. Wickes
Food Writer, Recipe Developer, Cookbook Reviews