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Look for this juicy, sweet-tasting fruit in festive shades of red and green.
Erin Gruetzman of Beilke Family Farm in Brooks, Ore., suggests avoiding pears with wrinkly skin, bruise marks, or overly soft spots. Check for ripeness by pressing gently at the neck of the fruit, she advises: “If it gives slightly, the pear is ripe.” To hurry the ripening process, Gruetzman recommends placing pears in a paper bag with a ripe banana and letting ethylene gas work its magic. Once ripe, the fruit is best eaten within a day or two for the freshest taste, she says.
“For cooking, such as baking pies, crisps, and tarts, Anjous should be slightly under-ripe, so they don’t go mushy,” Gruetzman advises. Other options include poaching, roasting, even grilling. Ripe pears can be sliced and blended into smoothies, or added to salads, pastas, or a cheese plate. Puréed soups also benefit from Anjous’ tempered sweetness. “After cutting a pear, add a few drops of lemon juice to keep it from oxidizing and turning brown,” says Gruetzman.
• Kick-start your day with a smoothie made from Anjou pear, Greek yogurt, quinoa flakes, pecans, cinnamon, and ginger powder.
• Create a grilled cheese sandwich with crusty bread, Brie or Camembert cheese, sliced Anjou pear, and arugula.
• Toss cooked fusilli pasta with sliced Anjou pear, sliced fennel, grated radicchio, and toasted walnuts; season with balsamic dressing.
What’s your favorite way to cook with pears? Share in the comments!