Wednesday, January 6, 2010

There are so many types of pears available today it can get a bit confusing. Most of us stick by the tried and true bartlett variety, though the anjou, packham and bosc, have become more popular too.

Pears ripen after they have been harvested from their trees. This can take a few days to a matter of months depending on the variety and how you decide to store the fruit. I will go into detail for the main varieties and if you have any questions after reading my post please leave a comment and I will send you a reply.



This is the most popular variety of pear and also the fastest to ripen. If you have harvested the fruit from the tree it usually takes about a week to ripen naturally; purchasing from the supermarket it will usually take 2 - 5 days. If you would like to ripen the fruit quickly place it into a plastic sealed bag on your counter but remember to check it everyday.

Ripe pears will turn only slightly yellow, full color means the fruit is over-ripe. Hold the fruit in the palm of your hand and gently push your thumb against it, if the flesh indents it means the pear is now ripe and should be removed from the bag and eaten that day or placed into your refrigerator to store for a longer period. Also, the pear will emit a sweet aroma if it is ripe. Unripe pears do not smell. If you would like to extend the longevity of any type of pear it is best to store loose somewhere cold usually about 50F/10C.

If you have bought a case of pears you need to take off the lid of the box to extend their longevity. Otherwise the naturally producing ethylene gas will be trapped in the box (or bag) and the fruit will ripen more quickly.



This delicious pear is similar in flavor to the bartlett variety. The differences are minor...packhams stay green in color when they're ripe so you need to use the smell and thumb test.

Many of us get turned off by this variety because the do take quite a long time to ripen, approx. 7 - 10 days on your counter. But don't be impatient their flavor is excellent and the fruit is so juicy.

The other thing is...these are available in the winter months when the bartlett supply is usually non-existent so if you're a pear lover your other options are limited.



I find people that like anjous (D'anjou) are usually very fussy people. Don't take any offense by my words sometimes fussy is good when it comes to buying produce. LOL! Anjous can take a good couple of weeks to ripen and these stay green in color too when they're ripe. Use the thumb test...this variety doesn't emit much of an aroma.

Also called "winter" pears because if kept cool they will last for several months. If you're on a budget, buying a case of these in Sept/Oct is a great alternative to paying higher prices in the winter months and most kids love pears.



Bosc are one of the sweetest varieties out there but they take so long to ripen. Similar to the anjou variety in ripening but I think it's worth it. Much sweeter than the anjou and bartlett varieties.

When you are buying boscs check the tips closely and make sure there's no wrinkling or browning. The stem should be thick, solid and either a light brown or green in color, not dried out and shrivelled. Also check for brown decay spots (circles) on the skin, even a small pin sized hole can blow up overnight and spoil the entire fruit.

Russetting on the skin doesn't affect the flavor or quality though is considered a lower grade because of their cosmetic appearance and should be lower priced. You can generally save up to 50%.



Other Varieties

Auroras, Comice, Abatti, Seckel and Akane are all excellent varieties too, super sweet, but tend to be much higher priced. If you can afford it try all of them they taste terrific. I highly recommend all 5 varieties.



Red Anjous, Red Bartletts, are similar to their green counterparts but sweeter and Red Crimsons are very similar in taste to Red Bartletts and they are often mistaken for one another.


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