The ingredient: pears
3 pear recipes
"A gift of the gods." That's how Homer described the pear in his epic poem "The Odyssey." Bite into a ripe, juicy pear and you, too, will be convinced of the fruit's divine provenance. Our 3 pear recipes featuring this flavorful fruit are perfectly "peared" for fall menus: Pear Chutney, Roast Pork & Pears with Mustard-Honey Glaze and Pear-Cranberry Crisp.
WhatAlthough there are thousands of varieties, the most commonly available pears sold in this country are Anjou, Bartlett and Bosc. More than 95 percent of pears grown in the United States come from California, Oregon and Washington, wherever the soil is volcanic and nutrient rich. Much of the Bartlett crop is destined to be canned or dried.
WhenMost pears peak at the market from early fall into winter, just in time to be baked, poached and roasted for the holidays. They require a bit of planning—and some downtime on the kitchen counter—because they are picked and packed unripe. The best way to check for ripeness is to lightly press the stem end of the pear to see if it's soft.
WhyOne pear provides about 15 percent of the recommended daily intake of fiber and is also a good source of vitamin C and potassium (about half the amount found in a banana). Try to buy organic when you can, or else wash regular supermarket pears carefully, because they tend to be coated with pesticide residue.
- These fragrant beauties, which have been around for more than 5,000 years, were first cultivated by a Chinese diplomat with a passion for fruit.
- Pear trees arrived in the Americas in 1620 with the Pilgrims and in the late 1700s on the West Coast, with the Spanish missionaries.
- You can't bob for pears—they don't float!