Nothing Compares to Pears!

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I don’t remember when I stumbled on the Comice pear, but I knew I’d found something special. Comice pears are a French variety of pears that are only available for a few months during pear season typically September through December. It’s also known as a the Doyenné Du Comice, European or Christmas pear as it’s often used in fruit baskets during the holidays.

If you’ve never had one- I suggest you seek it out! A little squattier than the average pear, Comice pears have a floral aroma, creamy texture and super sweet taste. Unlike red pears, the skin is smoother and the fruit is very juicy. Let’s explore other pears!

Bartlett Pears
Bartlett pears are the quintessential pear being the most popular worldwide. They’re light green in color but turn pale to darker yellow when ripe. The more golden the pear, the riper and sweeter it is.

Unlike other fruit, pears are best picked early and allowed to ripen off the tree. Why you ask? Natural fibers (lignans and cellulose) develop in the fruit and can cause a gritty texture.

Red bartlett pears also exist, but aren’t as common as green pears. Flavor and texture are very similar to green Bartlett pears.

Bosc Pears
Bosc pears are a bit of an anomaly. They’re dark khaki or brownish in color and have a firmer, thicker skin than other varieties. Their color is often described as “russet”.

The neck of a Bosc pear is longer and the base is full and round, similar to other pears. Bosc pears are sweet, juicy and delicious on their own or used in baked goods such as pies or cakes.

D’anjou Pears
Sound French? Because it is! D’anjou is another European pear that’s a little shorter than Bartlett, but just as sweet. D’anjou pears are also available in a red variety.

Similar to other pears, D’anjou are best when they ripen on your kitchen counter, but unlike Bartlett pears, these don’t change color during ripening. Test the ripeness by pressing on the neck of the pear. It should give slightly, but not completely damage the skin.

Nutritionally, pears are a good source of soluble fiber, the type that lowers total cholesterol and helps manage blood sugar. They also contain small amounts of vitamin C, potassium, and magnesium.

How can you enjoy pears? Let me count the ways…

  1. Enjoy a pear solo or with a handful of almonds or pistachios.
  2. Add diced pears to your morning oatmeal with a dash of cinnamon.
  3. Try roasting pears with shredded ginger a dusting of brown sugar.
  4. Include sliced pears on your next charcuterie board.
  5. Add chopped pears to Greek yogurt with chopped walnuts or ground flaxseed.
  6. Try sliced pears with chopped dates and a sprinkle of blue cheese for a delicious appetizer.
  7. Toss chopped pears into a spinach or arugula salad with dried cherries or cranberries.
  8. Use over-ripe pears in a compote and serve over pork or chicken.

By Lisa Andrews, MEd, RD, LD

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