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Pears

Prepare the perfect pear

Cut & clean
Quick treat: rinse and eat.

Slow and tasty: rinse, core, and slice.

A fine pair
Serve sliced pears with strong or mild cheeses. Try Brie, aged cheddar, Swiss, or Gruyère.


Also indexed as: Anjou Pears, Bartlett Pears, Bosc Pears, Comice Pears, Conference Pears, Passe-Crassane

Preparation, uses, and tips

Pears are primarily eaten out of hand, but can be baked, made into liqueurs, vinegar, juice, jam, and jelly. Unripe or hard varieties can be cooked, poached, or baked in tarts and compotes. All pears—but especially comice, the connoisseur’s pear—are often served with platters of fine cheese.

Buying and storing tips

Pears are available year-round. Their peak seasons are as follows:

Anjou, Conference, and Bosc: August through May

Bartlett: August through December

Comice: August to March

Passe-Crassane: November through February

Growers pick pears once their sugar levels reach the correct point, but they may still be very firm and green; tree-ripened pears soften to the point of disintegrating. Fresh pears should feel solid, and can be ripened at room temperature; avoid excessively hard fruit. As with all fruit, watch for damaged skin and mushy brown spots, which indicate core spoilage. Tenderness near the stem can indicate ripe fruit. Allow fruit to ripen before refrigerating; it can then be stored in the refrigerator for a few days.

Varieties

With over a thousand hybrids, pear trees are easily crossbred, but named varieties are typically grafted as, like squash varieties, they do not grow true from seed. Leading varieties include the following:

Anjou

Also known as the Beurre variety, Anjous originated in France. Their skin is yellow-green or light green, and they have tender, juicy flesh that is less granular than other types.

Bartlett

Called the Williams pear in England, this is a very popular variety that ripens to bright yellow from light green. There is also a Red Bartlett. Bartlett pears are delicious eaten out of hand and also are excellent when cooked.

Bosc

The Bosc is native to Belgium and has distinctive, thick, brown to yellow-brown, non-shiny russet skin. This pear has an obvious neck and distinctly crisp-textured flesh. It is used in cooking and baking, as well as for eating raw.

Comice

These pears derive their name from the phrase, Doyenne du Comice, meaning, “top of the show,” as they are often celebrated as the best pear variety. Originating in France, they are now grown in North America and have yellow-green or russeted skin, ripening to pinkish-brown. The flesh is smooth, juicy, and a warm, creamy white.

Conference

These are English winter pears that have taupe skin, and are long and slender in shape. The variety was named for the award it received at the 1885 International Pear Conference.

Passe-Crassane

This pear is a pear-quince hybrid that was developed in Normandy, in the north of France. It is particularly useful in cooking, because of its firm, grainy flesh, but is also tasty eaten raw.

Nutrition Highlights

Pear, 1 medium pear (raw)
Calories: 98
Protein: 0.65g
Carbohydrate: 25g
Total Fat: 0.66g
Fiber: 4.0g

*Foods that are an “excellent source” of a particular nutrient provide 20% or more of the Recommended Daily Value. Foods that are a “good source” of a particular nutrient provide between 10 and 20% of the Recommended Daily Value.

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