Pears are the sweet, juicy treasures of late autumn. With their luscious texture and heady fragrance, they seem decadently indulgent in contrast to the tang of citrus and the tart crunch of apples.
Although there are almost 1,000 varieties of pears grown in America, you'll commonly encounter only 6 or 7 commercially grown pears in the supermarket. December is the one month of the year when most varieties of pears are available, so it’s a good time to taste them all and discover your favorites.
Beyond desserts, pears make a lovely addition to salads and pair well with pungent cheeses such as Stilton, chevre or Pecorino Romano.
Why choose organic pears?
- Pears are #19 on the Environmental Working Group's “Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce,” a list of produce that carries the most pesticide residues when grown conventionally. Choosing organic pears broccoli makes sense, especially if you’re serving them to your children, whose growing bodies are so much more susceptible to environmental chemical exposures than adults’.
- At Earthbound Farm, we grow our organic pears without toxic synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, using sustainable farming methods that protect the environment and help keep pesticides out of our soil, air, water and food supply. Organic food is the healthiest choice for people and the planet — and we think organic pears taste better, too!
- WhatsOnMyFood.org from the Pesticide Action Network shows you searchable results for fruit like pears and a wide range of other organic and conventional foods. It’s an easy-to-use and empowering tool for learning about pesticide residues and their health effects for all of us.
How to select and store pears
- Unlike stone fruit, pears are not tree-ripened, so they’re usually hard as rocks when you buy them. To hasten ripening, place pears in a paper bag with an apple or banana. Store at room temperature until the fruit gives off a sweet aroma and the flesh at the stem end yields to gentle pressure.
- Once ripe, keep your pears refrigerated until ready to use. Ripe pears bruise very easily, so handle them gently.
Tips for using pears
- If you’re eating your pears raw, peeling is optional. If you're cooking with them, always remove the skin; it tends to get tough with heat.
- Peeled pears discolor quickly, so rub them immediately with lemon juice or place in a bowl of cold water acidulated with lemon juice after peeling.