I think you are hard pressed to find a better fruit than a perfectly ripened pear! Not too soft, not too hard, just a perfectly firm, ripened pear. Yummmm!! Fun fact about pears: they ripen from the inside out. So once your pear is soft on the outside, it can be almost mush on the inside. Also, commercial pears are picked before they are ripe and allowed to ripen off the tree. Pears that are tree-ripened can often be mealy and not very good. The great thing about a fruit that is picked before it’s ripe (intentionally!) is that it has a much longer shelf life in your refrigerator! Pears can store up to several months in the fridge after they are picked! When you are ready to ripen them, simply move them to fruit basket and give them a few days to ripen to perfection!
When shopping for pears, don’t be afraid to buy them unripe unless you need them right away. Keep in mind that a ripe pear will not keep long and must be eaten right away. When you are shopping for a RIPE pear, don’t squeeze the pears to tell if they are ripe. Press down very gently at the top (near the stem) and if it gives slightly, it’s ready to eat! A perfectly ripe pear, in my humble opinion, is one that is just starting to turn yellow (in the case of green pears), is very fragrant, but still firm.
You should always try and eat pears with the skin on for maximum nutritional benefits. Pears have 3-4x the nutrients when eaten with the skin on! They have 2-3x the fiber of an apple. They are also loaded with vitamin C, and potassium! They are also loaded with antioxidant and cancer fighting power (especially the red pears).
Pears are almost always listed on the “Dirty Dozen” list for pesticide residue so be sure to always buy organic where you can. Also, this is a fruit that is very thin skinned and in many/most cases you are eating the skin itself so you want to buy organic anytime you can!
Vanilla Pear Butter
Oh I love this recipe so much. It is not my original recipe (sourced from cooks.com), but I’ve made it many, many times. It’s not your traditional “pear butter” which is fully of cinnamon and cardamom, etc., this pear butter has actual butter in it! Therefore it cannot be canned to preserve. It will keep up to 4 weeks in the fridge and for many months in the freezer. It is fabulous on a toasted english muffin, spread over a plain cheesecake or scooped over vanilla ice cream! You’ve never tasted anything like it! I don’t have step-by-step instructions yet, but the recipe is pretty easy to follow. It is best made with Bartlett pears, but I have made it with Bosc and D’Anjou pears as well. Enjoy!
Click on the recipe to download