Whether you enjoy them soft and succulent or firm and crispy, there’s something to be said for the juicy goodness of pears. Like apples, they’re packed with pectin — a soluble fibre that’s good for the heart and your overall health.
Here are some tips for choosing and preparing the perfect pear from News Canada:
• Clapp: A large, oval pear with pale yellow skin and sweet, juicy flesh make this pear good for eating and canning.
• Bartlett: A bell-shaped pear, the Bartlett is probably the most familiar pear variety. It has long been prized for canning. The versatile Bartlett has a buttery texture and mild, sweet flavour making it good for both fresh eating or canning.
• Bosc: A relatively long and slender pear, of all the pears it probably has the longest neck. An unripe Bosc has brown skin that changes to a golden russet colour, becoming lighter and brighter as it ripens. The Bosc has a yellow flesh that’s buttery, sweet, and juicy, which is best enjoyed eating fresh.
To select: Choose Ontario pears that are firm. Don’t be misled by scars or minor surface blemishes — they won’t affect the flesh or taste.
To Core: Slice pears lengthwise; using a spoon or melon-baller and working from the base of the pear, scoop out core. Peel if desired.
To Prevent Browning: Coat sliced pears with lemon juice immediately after slicing
Consumers love pears at various levels of ripeness. Some consumers enjoy them at the early stages when they are firm and crisp and some like to wait until they have ripened to the point that they yield to gentle pressure. If your preference is to ripen your pears, here’s a quick guide to assist you!
1 Remove your pears from the container they were purchased in and sort according to ripeness.
2 Place firm pears in a paper bag, at room temperature, away from direct sunlight.
3 Check pears daily. If pear yields to gentle pressure at the stem end, it’s ready to eat.
4 If pears are at the desired level of ripeness, enjoy immediately or refrigerate until you are ready. Ripe pears will stay fresh in your fridge for up to 5 days.
Ontario Pear per 166 g serving (1 medium pear)
Ontario Pears are high in dietary fibre and are fat and sodium-free. They are also a source of calcium and vitamin C.
Ontario Pear Crisps with Goat Cheese and Pine Nuts (pictured above)
In place of crostini or crackers on a cheese plate, bake pear slices. This truly beautiful summer starter showcases the shape of the sweetened pear and tops it with rich goat cheese. Choose Ontario Bartlett or Bosc pears for a crisp, sweet base that cuts the sharpness of the cheese.
1 firm Ontario Pear
1/2 cup each: water and granulated sugar 125 mL
6 oz herbed goat cheese 175 g
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted 50 mL
Using a mandolin or vegetable peeler, thinly slice pear lengthwise.
In medium pot over medium-high heat, bring water and sugar to boil, stirring occasionally; continue boiling [do not stir] 5 minutes. One by one, place slices of pear in syrup; cook 1 minute. Remove pear slices with slotted spoon; arrange on parchment-lined baking sheet in single layer. Bake in 200°F (100°C) oven until crisp and dry, about 2 hours. Let cool completely on rack.
Place 1 tsp (5 mL) of goat cheese on each pear slice; sprinkle with a few pine nuts.
Makes approximately 20 pieces.
Pear Crostini: Substitute pear crisps with toasted baguette pieces topped with thin slices of raw pear, goat cheese and pine nuts.
Have you tried this recipe or have a cooking tip for other readers? Share it in the comments below.
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