Did you know that December is national pear month? Think about those beautiful pears that are often gifted over the holiday season—perfect timing! Many fruits and vegetables are out of season over the winter months; however, pears continue to be accessible because they can be refrigerated to slow down the ripening process. Pears are a great, flavorful addition to many dishes including salads, desserts, baked goods, and simply as a snack!
Pears are a healthy carbohydrate choice; they are a great source of fiber, providing approximately 6 grams of fiber per one medium fruit. They are fat-free, cholesterol free, and sodium-free. Pears are also a good source of potassium which is an important electrolyte. A single piece of fruit contains about 100 calories.
When buying pears, choose fruit that is firm to the touch and free from blemishes and bruises. If unripe, the fruit can be stored on the counter for about seven days. Putting pears in a brown bag will speed up ripening so that you can eat them faster!
Do you know how to determine if a pear is ripe? Pears ripen from the inside out. Some pears, like the Bartlett, change colors as they ripen, but not all pears do this. If a pear does not visibly ripen, check the neck! When ripe, the fruit should give to gentle pressure near the stem. When the pear is soft around its middle, it is overripe. Additionally, a ripe pear smells like a pear, so take a sniff!
Try using pears in a crisp, add it to a loaf of bread, or top off a fresh salad!
Need some more ideas of how to incorporate pears? Try the links below for full recipes:
Spiced Apple-Pear Sauce
Roquefort Pear Salad
Sourced from UNL Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources