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Grab a Pear, It’s Pear Month!

December 5, 2011

Pears have been around in the United States since the 1700s and are the second most popular fruit in the United States.  They are similar to apples in the fact that they can be used in many of the same ways.  The two distinct differences between pears and apples are the pears shape and its soft texture.  The soft texture of the pear is due to starch having been converted to sugar after it begins to ripen.  There are many varieties of pears: Anjou, Bartlett, Bose, Comice, Forelle, and Secke and they all differ in shape, size, and color.  

 Health Benefits of Pears

  • ·       Good source of fiber, containing 4 grams per medium pear. 
  • ·       Potassium: 210mg per medium pear.
  • ·       Vitamin C: 7mg or 10% of recommended daily allowance

 

Pears are a great fall fruit and can be used in many different dishes.  When picking pears, be sure to choose one free of bruising, cuts, or dark brown spots.  The skin of the pear should be smooth and unblemished.  Choose pears that are slightly green because they ripen faster off the tree, and ripe pears will yield slightly to pressure on the stem end of the pear. 

Unripe pears should be stored in a paper bag at room temperature for 2-3 days or can be stored in a ventilated fruit bowl in a cool, dark place.  Ripe pears should be stored in the refrigerator in a plastic bag for up to 3 days.  

Make sure to eat the skin of the pear!  The skin is edible and is an additional source of fiber.  One medium sized pear has about 4 grams of fiber or 16% of the recommended daily value!  Be sure to include pears as one of your daily servings of fruit. 

How will you add pears in your diet?  For starters, try this delicious “Poached Pears in Cranberry Juice” recipe! 

Poached Pears in Cranberry Juice

Ingredients

1 ½ cup fresh cranberries, rinsed and picked over

2 cups apple juice (no sugar added)

1 tablespoon honey

4 large firm almost ripe Bartlett or d’Anjou pears, halved, cored and peeled

¼ teaspoons cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom or nutmeg

¼ teaspoons almond extract

2 teaspoons sugar

 

Instructions

1. Put cranberries and apple juice in a 3-quart heavy bottom saucepan.  Bring to boil.

    Reduce heat to simmering.  Cover and cook until all berries pop (approximately 7

    minutes).

2. In a bowl, press out juices with a large spoon.  Stir honey into juices.  Discard

     solids. 

3. Arrange pears in layers in saucepan, rounded sides down.  Cover with cranberry

     liquid.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to simmering.  Cover and simmer until firm-

     tender (approximately 10 minutes).

4. Sprinkle with cinnamon, cardamom or nutmeg, and almond extract. 

5. Gently spoon liquid over pears.  Uncover and let stand for 10 minutes.  With a

     slotted spoon, transfer pears to a 3 quart covered bowl.

6. Add sugar to juices, stirring until dissolved, then pour over fruit. 

7. Cover and refrigerate for several hours (or overnight) to permit flavors to develop

     fully.

 One serving = 1/2 pear

Calories per serving = 106

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