It's hard to improve on the flavor of a soft, juicy raw pear, but combine it with blue cheese or prosciutto, and you'll have something truly divine. You can also bake or poach pears, or use them to make tarts. They become soft and fragile when they're ripe, so grocers want you to buy them while they're still hard and then ripen them at home for a few days. Putting them in a paper bag speeds up the process. They're ready to eat when the base yields slightly to pressure from your thumb.
- apples (Like pears, these are good for baking or eating out of hand.) OR
- Asian pears (These are crunchier and take longer to cook.) OR
- quinces (These have a tarter flavor; they're great baked.) OR
- figs OR
Equivalents: 1 pound = 3 pears
Anjou pear = d'Anjou pear
These economical pears aren't as tasty as some of the other varieties, but they're still good for both eating and cooking. The peel stays light green even when the pear is ripe.
Bartlett pear = Williams pear
These are very juicy and great for eating out of hand. They turn yellow when ripe.
This firm and crunchy pear is the best choice for cooking, because it holds its shape nicely. Bosc pears can also be eaten out of hand.
California sugar pear
This small pear is the same size as a Seckel pear, but it's not as juicy and sweet.
These juicy pears are considered to be the best for eating out of hand, but they're very expensive.
d'Anjou pear See Anjou pear.
French butter pear
red Anjou pear
Very similar to a green Anjou pear.
red Bartlett pear
This tastes just like a yellow Bartlett, but it's more attractive and more expensive.
red cascade pear
Seckel pear = sugar pear
These are small pears with red and green skins. They're very sweet and juicy and they'd be absolutely perfect if only the skins weren't a bit too thick.
Starkrimson pear Taylor's Gold pear
Williams pear See Bartlett pear.
Winter Nellis pear
These are especially good for baking.
Copyright © 1996-2005 Lori Alden