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How to sort through the new crop of pears

samplingTwice a week, our staff meets for standing huddles to discuss opportunities and work together on issues….but more often than no, they use this time to sample our new products! This allows them to understand what something tastes like and how it can be used – all to help you better shop our store. This past week, they worked through all the new pears we have in stock. The general consensus: wow, there’s a lot to know about pears. So, make sure you grill staff on the pear section when you’re in the store.

Below, we pulled together some tips on our favorite ones, to help you explore each of these fruits when they’re at peak season. For more info, check out Specialty Produce, which helped us prepare these summaries.

BARTLETT PEARS

The fruit’s color brightens as it ripens, which is a characteristic unique to Bartlett pears; most pears do not change color when ripe. At harvest they are a vibrant green, changing to yellow when ready to eat.

Bartlett pears can be eaten fresh, out-of-hand, or paired with cheese. They add a sweet flavor to salads and make excellent preserves, syrups, and chutneys. Bartlett pears are known as the “canning pear” because they have a distinct flavor and sweetness which preserves well. They make great additions to cakes, muffins, crisps and quick breads. Bartlett pears are also delicious dried or sautéed to compliment pork dishes. To ripen let sit at room temperature for a few days or in a paper bag to expedite the process, ripe Bartlett pears keep best in the refrigerator.

D’ANJOU PEARS

Anjou pears are versatile in the kitchen. They hold up well to baking and can be enjoyed fresh, out-of-hand. Slice Anjou pears and add them to salads or cheese plates. Anjou pears are perfect for baking into pies and tarts, poaching or making sauces and purees. Stuff pork tenderloin with diced Anjou pear and serve with an Anjou pear reduction. Cold-hardy, these pears can be kept in cold-storage for up to seven months, which is unparalleled compared to other pear varieties. Ripen at room temperature. Ripe pears should only be refrigerated for a few days to maintain juiciness.

STARK CRIMSON PEARS

Red Crimson pears have a ruby red skin, while the flesh is a yellow-cream color, tender, and very juicy. Red Crimson pears have a mild, sweet flavor with a floral aroma.

Red Crimson pears add a touch of color to a variety of dishes. Slice Red Crimson pears and add to green salads or to a charcuterie board. Use skin-on, sliced Red Crimson pears to make a colorful pear tart. Pears store well when refrigerated, up to three weeks. To ripen, leave out at room temperature for a couple of days.

BOSC PEARS

Bosc pears are a winter variety commonly known as the European pear. For centuries artists have chosen Bosc pears for their paintings and drawings because of their true pear shape and unique warm, russet skin. Bosc pears can be enjoyed fresh, baked or even dried. When eaten fresh, they are best at room temperature. A common misconception is that Bosc pears must be peeled or cooked before being consumed, which is neither true nor necessary. Bosc pears stand up to cooking and retain their shape, making them ideal for tarts, pies and poaching. Grill halved Bosc pears and top with gorgonzola cheese and chopped walnuts. The flavor of Bosc pears isn’t overwhelmed by strong spices or other flavors. Add sliced Bosc pears to salads or cheese boards, or pair with roasted meats like chicken or pork. As with other pear varieties, ripen Bosc pears at room temperature and refrigerate up to a week.

ASIAN PEARS

Prized for their crunchy texture the creamy white flesh of the Asian pear is exceptionally juicy with a sweet low acid flavor and fragrant aroma. Unlike regular pears Asian pears are sold ripe and maintain their crisp texture long after being picked. Careful handling must be practiced when picking, packing and transporting Asian pears as their delicate skin bruises and becomes discolored easily.

In Chinese medicine Asian pears are considered a cooling fruit and are used for detoxification purposes and to treat coughs, laryngitis, ulcers and constipation. They are also used in Chinese medicine to help promote a healthy complexion, eliminate under eye circles and relieve retina pain.

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