Insider’s Viewpoint: Autumn & Pears
The Taste of Autumn
From apples to pumpkins, winter squash, cranberries and pears, there is a bounty of nutritious and delicious produce options available in the fall. While I look forward to brightening my plate with each one of these fruits and vegetables (and more!), the one I most highly anticipate is the pear.
All About Pears …
Pear harvest begins in the fall and peaks in October for most varieties. Select varieties are available year round.
Types of Pears
Like apples, cherries, plums and apricots, pears belong to the rose family. There are over 3,000 known pear varieties grown around the world, though only a handful are available in the US. Each variety has a distinctive character, texture, flavor and use. Explore them all to choose your favorites!
Bartlett – Abundantly juicy with the classic sweet pear taste. It’s the only pear that changes color as it ripens. Best for eating fresh, canning or in desserts and salads.
Green Anjou – The ‘all-purpose’ pear that has a sweet, juicy and slightly citrusy flavor. The skin remains green even when ripe. Bake or slice and add to dishes.
Bosc – Crisp, woodsy, honey-sweet flavor. It has a smooth texture that holds well when cooked and baked.
Asian – Crunchy, juicy and sweet. Firm when ripe and best eaten as a snack or in salads. Stays fresh for up to three (3) months when refrigerated.
Forelle – Crisp, tangy and refreshingly sweet. Known for its smaller size and unique yellow-green skin that’s naturally decorated with crimson freckles. Perfect for snacking and cooking.
Pears in the Kitchen
With their sweet flavor and texture, pears are an irresistible match for many sweet and savory foods. Try these combinations to treat your taste buds or bake them into crunchy oat- and cinnamon-topped Pear Crisp (recipe below).
3 Pear Pairings
- Pear+ hot oatmeal + pecans
- Pear + vanilla yogurt+ honey
- Pear + blue cheese+ leafy greens + balsamic vinaigrette
Savvy Selection & Storage Tips
- Choose pears with smooth, unblemished skin and store them at room temperature to ripen.
- Ripe pears yield to gentle pressure at the neck (stem end).
- Refrigerate ripe pears until ready to eat. Do not refrigerate unripe pears!
- For best flavor and texture, eat at room temperature.
- 5 firm Bartlett pears, peeled, cored and very thinly sliced
- 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
- 1 cup old-fashioned oats
- 1 1/2 Tbsp. vegetable oil baking stick, softened
- 1/8 tsp. salt
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
Preheat oven to 350°F. In a small bowl, toss pears with lemon juice. Arrange the pear slices in a 9-inch round baking dish or tart pan in an overlapping spiral pattern, starting from the outer edge and working toward the center. Set aside. In a medium bowl, combine brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, oats, vegetable oil baking stick and salt. Mix with a fork until crumbly. Stir in the dried cranberries. Sprinkle evenly over arranged pears as a topping and bake 25-30 minutes until topping browns and pears are tender. Serve warm. Refrigerate any remaining portions and use within 3 to 4 days.
Nutrition Facts per serving: 250 calories; 3g fat; 0g saturated fat; 0g trans fat; 0mg cholesterol; 85mg sodium; 57g carbohydrate; 6g fiber; 38g sugar; 3g protein; 10% DV vitamin C.
Beth Stark RDN, LDN
Healthy Living Coordinator
Weis Markets, Inc