Pears are a fruit worth waiting for. Picked unripe, they need to slowly mellow, softening and becoming sweeter as they mature. Make the most of pears while at their peak.
Find everything you ever wanted to know about the different kinds of pears.
See Pear Varieties
- Look for firm or hard, unripe pears (believe it or not, they're actually better if ripened after picking), then let them ripen at home.
- Make sure stems are still whole.
- Pass on any pear with bruises or cuts.
Storing and Ripening:
- Ripen hard pears in a paper bag or covered fruit bowl at room temperature. Check them every day until they are ripe.
- Store unripe pears in the refrigerator until you're ready to ripen; once out of the fridge, keep them at room temperature.
- Check for ripeness by gently pressing the stem end of the pear with your thumb. If there's some give, that's a good sign. You can't tell the ripeness by the color because some varieties will not change after picking.
- Keep them fresh by refrigerating ripe pears 3 to 5 days.
Cooking with Pears:
- If eating whole, simply wash before eating.
- For salads and desserts, wash, peel and cut pears using a small sharp knife or vegetable peeler to remove the thin skin.
- To halve pears, cut lengthwise and remove the core with a small knife.
- Brush sliced pears that will not be immediately eaten with a little lemon juice to keep them from turning brown.
- If you want to poach or stuff whole pears, use a melon baller to remove the core from the bottom, leaving the rest of the fruit whole.
- A medium pear will give you about 1 cup of slices.
- With only a slim 100 calories each and low on the glycemic index (meaning the carbs in pears convert slowly to sugar), pears provide a good "sweet" choice for those watching their calorie intake.
- A medium pear (about the size of an adult fist) is a good source of dietary fiber, providing 16% of the recommended daily allowance.
- Pears are a good source of vitamin C. The antioxidant promotes healing, boosts the immune system and reduces free radical damage.