By: Katy Dyer, RD
Pears will be in season now through January and some even into the Spring months. Make these tender and juicy fruits part of all your meals and snacks while they are abundant and on sale.
Bartlett pears are one of the most popular and recognizable types of pears, but in fact, there are so many other varieties to try. Each variety has its own distinctive colors and flavors. While pears are season, look out for the less familiar colors and varieties and give them a try. You may stumble upon a pear that is just right for you! Regardless of which variety you go home with, you will be getting a good source of Vitamin C and fiber.
Pears are one of the few fruits that do not ripen on the tree, therefore you will need a few tricks to know just the right moment to enjoy a pear. Allow pears to ripen at room temperature. You will know Bartlett pears are ripe when they have transitioned from a green color to a yellowish green and are a bit softer to touch. Other varieties do not have as noticeable color change and you will need to implement the Check the Neck strategy. Press gently near the stem, if it gives a bit then the pear is ready to eat. Dig in immediately or relocate them to the refrigerator to slow down ripening and plan to use them over the next few days.
Here’s some tips on how to use pears this season:
- Make an Autumn fruit salad by combining diced pears, apples, dried cranberries, pomegranate seeds and chopped walnuts for some heart healthy fat.
- Add diced pears to any green salad for some unexpected sweetness.
- If you like apples on top of oatmeal, try pears next time!
- Offer quartered pears, whole grain crackers and cheese slices for an afternoon snack.
Try out this yummy sandwich recipe (from www.usapears.org):
Pear, Turkey, and Cheese Sandwich
Jazz up a grilled cheese sandwich with Dijon mustard, fresh pears, and mozzarella. Broiling adds a pleasing crunch.
- 2 slices multi-grain or rye sandwich bread
- 2 teaspoons Dijon-style mustard
- 2 slices (1 ounce each) cooked or smoked turkey
- 1 USA Pear, cored and thinly sliced
- ¼ cup shredded low-fat mozzarella cheese
- Coarsely ground pepper
Spread each slice of bread with 1 teaspoon mustard. Place one slice turkey on each slice of bread. Arrange pear slices on turkey and sprinkle each with 2 tablespoons cheese. Sprinkle with pepper. Broil, 4 to 6 inches from heat, 2 to 3 minutes or until turkey and pears are warm and cheese melts. Cut each sandwich in half and serve open face.
Get more nutrition information and recipe ideas at www.usapears.org