December is Pear Month
Pears are among the most popular fruits in the world, and it’s no wonder why! They taste great and is a great way to get our daily fruit servings. It is recommended that the average American consume two cups of fruit per day. One medium pear is approximately one cup. Pears also have lots of nutritional value.
They are an excellent source of fiber. The bulk of the fiber is in the peel. Pears are a good source of vitamin C for only 100 calories per serving. Pears also contain potassium. And, they’re sodium free, fat free, and cholesterol free. That’s a lot of nutrition in one sweet and juicy package!
Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables is the foundation for a healthy lifestyle, and pears are a delicious part of this menu. Pears are very versatile. They can add flavor to sandwiches, salads, and baked goods. In addition to being served raw in almost anything, pears can be baked, sautéd, and grilled very nicely. They can be made into preserves, jams and chutneys. Anything that can be done with an apple can be done with a pear.
It can be difficult to determine when a pear is ripe. For one common variety, the Bartlett, it will change in color from green to yellow when ripe, however many pears do not change color as they ripen. Here is one way to check for ripeness: hold a pear in your hand, apply light pressure just below the stem (the shoulder area of the pear) and if there is a slight “give” to the flesh, it is ready to enjoy. If not, it can be placed in a paper bag to continue the ripening process. Once ripe, keep pears in cooler temperatures, such as in your refrigerator or a cool cellar.