All About Pears

Created December 8, 2016
spiced gingered pear pie
Add fresh pear to sandwiches, salads and desserts for tasty vitamin C, fiber and fall flavor boosts. MORE+ LESS-

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.

Pear Varieties:

Find everything you ever wanted to know about the different kinds of pears. See Pear Varieties

Choosing Pears:

  • 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. 

Nutritional Highlights: 

  • 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.