Backyard Entertaining with Bartlett Pears!


If you’re avoiding restaurants and enjoying your friends and family from a safe distance in your backyard this summer, you’ll want to use fresh, versatile, summery ingredients.

California Bartlett pears—available now, but only for a few more weeks—can play a starring role in your summertime dinners because they’re soft, succulent and aromatic. In fact, due to high natural sugar levels, these are the sweetest, juiciest pears you can buy.

When it’s hot, you can serve a wonderful, simple meal of a cheese board and green salad. And followed up with a sweet Bartlett sorbet, you’ve got a beautiful meal in a flash.

When shopping, look for firm fruit that’s smooth-skinned and un-shriveled. But don’t worry about minor blemishes because these don’t affect the flavour or quality. And to achieve your desired Bartlett ripeness, just follow this simple colour guide. The greener the pear, the harder and less ripe it is. But once they turn yellow, Bartlett pears are soft and fully ripe. All you have to do is let them ripen naturally on your counter like you would a banana.

One medium, 160 g pear contains natural antioxidants and only 100 calories. It’s also a source of vitamin C, potassium and folic acid, and a good source of fibre. Pears are typically defined as a hypo-allergenic soft fruit that’s ideal for anyone.

Wine and cheese ‘Pearing’

Summertime isn’t just about beer and burgers. How about something a little more sophisticated this time of year?

California Bartletts are the key ingredient in elegant wine and cheese pairings; whether it’s for a lazy afternoon by the pool, a dinner with family and friends, or a romantic evening in. They’re light and luscious and pair beautifully with nearly anything—especially in the heat of the summer.

Simply arrange a variety of cheeses (try to include a variety: soft, runny, hard, blue and goat) on a large platter or cutting board. Slice California Bartletts right before serving and enjoy alongside a simple lettuce salad—greens tossed with a lemon and olive oil dressing. Tip: add a splash of water to your dressing to mellow it so it pairs beautifully with the cheeses. Serve with crusty bread and finish your meal with an elegant Bartlett Pear sorbet.

Bartlett Pear Thyme Sorbet

This light, summery sorbet is dairy-free. It’s a perfect complement to the wine and cheese “Pearing” on a hot day or evening.

Prep time: 10 minutes plus cooling time
Cook time: 10 minutes

2 pounds California Bartlett pears
2½ cups (625 mL) water
½ cup (125 mL) cane sugar
5 sprigs of fresh thyme

Peel and core the pears. Chop the pears into roughly 1-inch (2.5 cm) cubes. Place in a pot along with the water, sugar, and sprigs of thyme. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook until pears are tender, 10 minutes or so.

Let the pear mixture cool slightly and transfer to an airtight container. Place in the refrigerator to cool, preferably overnight.

When ready to serve, remove the thyme sprigs and purée the pear mixture until smooth.

If you’re using an ice cream maker, freeze the sorbet according to the instructions in your instruction manual. Alternatively, freeze the sorbet mixture in a shallow dish. Break apart the pieces and purée in a blender, as if making a smoothie.

Serves 6-8