Pears are one of the world's oldest cultivated and most beloved fruits. In The Odyssey, the Greek poet laureate Homer lauds pears as a "gift of the gods”. Early colonists brought the first pear trees to America's eastern settlements. Pears rank second to the apple as the most popular fruit. They can be eaten and used in the same way as the apple. Softer in texture than the apple, its unique shape reflects its luscious nature.
Availability: Late August - Late September
Pears do not ripen well on trees. They are harvested when they are mature but unripe and need to be ripened after harvest. Bartlett pears change from green to yellow as they ripen. Non-Bartlett pears (Anjou, Bosc, Comice, Concorde, Seckel and Forelle) do not dramatically change color as they ripen. Because pears ripen from the inside out, the best way to check for ripeness is to "check the neck.” Gently press near the stem with your thumb. When it gives to gentle pressure it is ripe, juicy, and ready to eat. If you wait until the pear is soft around the middle, it will be overripe.
Pears need to ripen at room temperature, so leave them on the kitchen counter or dining room table to enjoy their beauty as they ripen. Placing pears in a paper bag will help them ripen faster. Be sure to check daily so they don't get overripe. Add apples or bananas to speed up the process. All ripening fruit give off ethylene, so more ethylene in the air around the pear will help speed ripening.
Ripened pears can be utilized right away or refrigerated to slow further ripening. As they ripen, pears can be arranged in a fruit bowl for display.
We don't recommend freezing fresh pears that have not been processed. The juice and fibers will separate in the thawing process, and the results are not at all desired. However, freezing a cooked or processed pear (such as pear sauce) to which sugar has been added will work. Pear pie fillings can also be pre-baked and frozen. Make sure the pears are in a tightly sealed container prior to freezing to help reduce freezer burn and the growth of microorganisms.
Wash and peel pears. Cut in halves and remove cores. Slice, if desired. To prevent discoloration, keep pears in an ascorbic acid solution (a solution of 3 grams (3,000 milligrams) ascorbic acid to 1 gallon of cold water). Prepare a very light, light, or medium syrup or pack pears in apple juice, white grape juice, or water.
• 15 med. potatoes (about 5 lb.) Water
• ¾ cup olive or salad oil
• 1/3 cup cider vinegar or wine vinegar
• 1 ¾ teaspoon salt
• ¾ teaspoon pepper
• 6 med. pears
• 1 lg. head Romaine lettuce
In 8-quart saucepan over high heat, heat unpeeled potatoes and enough water to cover to boiling. Reduce heat to low, cover,simmer 25 minutes, until potatoes are fork tender.
Meanwhile,in large bowl, with wire whisk or fork, mix olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. When potatoes are done, drain, cool potatoes until easy to handle. Peel and cut potatoes into 1/8 inch thick slices. Thinly slice pears. Add potatoes and pears to dressing, toss gently until well coated. Line salad bowl with lettuce leaves, spoon mixture onto lettuce. Serve warm.