Pears are one of the world’s most alluring fruits with its voluptuous contour and buttery textured flesh. A perfectly ripe, luscious pear is without peer as a sweet pleasure of autumn. This ancient fruit captured the praise of the well-known Greek poet, Homer (8th century B.C.), who referred to pears as a “gift of the gods.” The Romans developed over 50 varieties of pears and introduced the cultivated pear to Europe.
The California Bartlett is an ancestor of a pear originating in Berkshire, England from the 17th century. California grown pears include Bartlett, Bosc, Sekel, Comice, Starkrimson (red pears), D’Anjou, Forelle, Packhams, Taylor’s Gold, and Warrens.
Pears are extremely versatile fruits, equally delicious eaten out-of-hand or sliced and served as an appetizer with your favorite cheese. Pears can be used in salads (raw or roasted), made into jams, jellies or chutneys, poached in wine or simple flavored syrups or used as a filling in baked goods for dessert. Ripe pears are delicious in fresh fruit salsas. Use overripe pears in smoothies.
The California Pear Advisory Board reports that pears provide a variety of nutrients, including important vitamins and minerals. One medium Bartlett pear provides 16 percent of the daily requirement for dietary fiber (4 grams) and 10 percent of the daily requirement for vitamin C. Fresh pears are a healthful source of potassium, contain no cholesterol or sodium, and are virtually fat free.
You’ll find a wide selection of pears at the farmers markets at Prevedelli Farms, Mello-Dy Ranch, Four Sisters Farm, Route 1, T & L Coke Farm.
RECIPES: Vanilla Port Poached Pears with Blue Cheese and Walnuts, Baked Pears with Caramel Sauce, Honey Pear Bran Muffins, Raisin Pear Pie, Stilton Cheese Gateaux with Onion Pear Relish, Spinach Pear Salad with Maple and Brown Mustard Vinaigrette, Banana Blossom Salad with Asian Pears and Chicken, Ham, Pear and Havarti Cheese Panini, Honey Pear Coffee Cake with Streusel Topping, Pear Ginger Jam