Is It August Already?


With the lazy, hazy days of summer here, we’re all looking for heat-beating foods. That’s where Bartlett pears come in. They’re aromatic, luscious and refreshingly soft and juicy. Hand-picked and packed on only 60 small farms by artisan farmers, California Bartletts are considered the sweetest pears available.

And they’re as good for you as they are delicious. One medium Bartlett has only 100 calories and is a source of Vitamin C, potassium, and folic acid. Even better, pears contain natural antioxidants and are a good source of fibre. Because Bartlett pears are a soft, low-allergenic food, they’re ideal for practically everyone.

When buying Bartletts, look for firm, well-shaped fruit. Bartlett pears ripen after they are picked. One handy way to check for ripeness is the neck test. Put gentle pressure on the top of the pear near the neck. If it gives way a little, then it’s ripe.

Another easy marker for ripeness is colour. Green Bartletts, which some people prefer, are firmer fleshed and not yet ripe. Golden yellow Bartletts, however, are fully ripe and at their softest, juiciest, and most flavourful stage. To ripen Bartletts at home, all you need to do is leave them on the counter for a few days and watch the colour change.

Now that your pears are at their desired ripeness, here are some dynamic duos featuring Bartletts. Some foods, like bacon or eggs, are great by themselves, but match them perfectly and it’s pure magic!

Summer Palate Cooler: Accompany spicy dishes, such as gazpacho, chili or curry, with fresh Bartlett pear wedges for quick palate cool downs.

Wrapped Pears: Wrap fresh Bartlett pear wedges with slices of cheese and salami for a tasty treat.

Pears and Pork: Bake fresh Bartlett pear halves with ham or pork during last 15 minutes of cooking. Baste once or twice with pan drippings. Top each pear half with a sprig of parsley. Serve as accompaniment to sliced meat.

Baked Pears: Fill centre of cored fresh Bartlett pear halves with a mixture of blue cheese, cream cheese and chopped nuts. Bake at 350 F (180 C) until fruit is tender when pierced with a fork.

Pear À L’Orange: Whisk orange marmalade, fresh orange juice, vanilla and dash of balsamic vinegar together. Stir in sliced fresh Bartlett pears and let marinate at room temperature for 3 to 4 hours, stirring occasionally. Chill and serve over sliced pound cake.

Snacking: Between meals try hot toasted wheat bread spread with peanut butter and topped with fresh Bartlett pear slices. Or cut unpeeled fresh Bartlett pears into wedges; dip one end in honey and dip in chopped toasted nuts, roasted sunflower seeds, coconut or chocolate sprinkles.

They’re also available conventional or organic in the produce department of your local grocery store. But get them fast, as the season is short; California Bartletts are only available until about the end of August.

Visit for many more healthy and refreshing recipes this summer.