How to buy
If you’re looking for superfoods, it’s hard to go past the humble pear. When buying, check the firmness and aroma of the pear, and make sure there aren’t any deep bruises or gashes in the fruit. Some pear varieties, such as the brown-skinned Beurre Bosc, are better selected when they are erring on the soft side – this means the fruit will be ripe and succulent. Other pears, such as the Winter Nelis or Packham’s Triumph, should be chosen they’re still hard and crisp.
How to store
Pears are best kept at room temperature until they turn yellow and lose some of their firmness. They don’t need to be stored in plastic, and should be chilled only to slow down ripening – pears are mostly water, and too long in the fridge will dry them out. Ripe, juicy pears should be eaten immediately, or cooked without delay. Don’t freeze pears, as the flesh doesn’t thaw well. Instead, if you want to preserve them for long periods of time, try bottling them in a light sugar syrup. You can also dehydrate pear slices to eat later.
- While pear skin is great to eat raw, it can become tough and bitter when heated. Make sure you peel your pears before cooking them.
- Add thin slices of pear to salads. To keep peeled pears from turning dark, rub them with lemon juice or dip them into acidulated water.
- Baking pears makes for a great dessert. Simply sprinkle the fruit with cinnamon and sugar, then bake in the oven for 30 minutes.
- For an easy starter, slice pears into wedges and then wrap in prosciutto with a piece of blue cheese. It’s a great option for entertaining!
Pears are full of fibre – indeed, the average pear provides around 18 per cent of your daily fibre quota. They’re also low in calories, fat-free, cholesterol-free, and made up of mostly water. Pears also contain polyphenolics, which help to fight inflammation, and have high levels of vitamins A, C, K and B.