Choosing The Best Fresh Pears, Storing Pears
Pear fruit is a unique fruit that actually ripen best off the tree.
Those that do ripen on the tree will have a gritty texture and the flesh will turn brown and soft.
Once harvested, pears are packed and stored in cold storage in the packinghouse.
A rich, sweet and buttery fruit fresh pears can be
baked, pickled, canned, frozen, used in baby food, or processed into jams, jellies and pies.
They are so tender they were once called the "butter fruit". Some
of the best pear varieties grown in the Okanagan include Bartlett,
D'Anjou pears, Bosc, Asian, Flemish Beauties, and Red Clapp.
Choosing Pear Fruit
As one of the few fruits that do not mature well if allowed to
ripen on the tree, pears are usually picked before they are ripe.
Although they were once exclusively a fall and winter fruit,
pears today, thanks to modern storage and transportation methods,
are available in the markets nearly year-round.
- When shopping for different pear varieties in the
supermarket, you should never expect to find fruit that is ready to
eat, because they are harvested green and held in cold storage
until ready for ripening.
- To check for ripeness of pears, apply gentle
pressure to the stem end of the pear with your thumb. Because pears
ripen from the inside out, ripe fruit will give gently to gentle pressure, first near the stem.
Waiting until pears are soft around the middle may indicate over ripeness.
- If the neck of the pear yields to the pressure,
it's ready to eat. To speed the ripening of hard pears place them in a
paper bag or a covered fruit bowl, and leave at room temperature.
This process usually takes a few days.
- A pear is 83% water, a good source of B vitamins, and
contains some vitamin C, potassium, phosphorus and iodine.
Fresh pears are loaded with dietary fiber, much of it in the form of Pectin.
If eating a fresh pear, keep the skin on to maximize a pear's nutritional benefits.
- The shape of a pear varies from apple to teardrop shaped.
It's skin color ranges from light yellow through to red and brown.
The flesh of a pear fruit is juicy and in some varieties, such as Asian pears, almost translucent.
- Winter pears can be stewed, poached, sautéed and baked.
When cooking pears, use under ripe pears as they keep their shape and peel with a vegetable peeler.
Storing Pears Keeping Fruit Fresh
One of the best things about pear fruit is that it will keep for a long time if stored properly.
The key to keeping fruit fresh, and prevent it from ripening too fast is to store it cold.
Pear fruit grown in the Okanagan include Bartlett, D'Anjou, Bosc, Asian, Flemish Beauties, and Red Clapp.
Pears become available beginning late August and they are
carefully stored once harvested to allow for proper ripening.
- Pear varieties, like apples, can be stored for months
after they are picked if kept in a cool temperature.
Some pear varieties require cold storage for a period of time before they can ripen.
This ensures that the sugar levels in the fruit is at an adequate level.
Winter pears that have not been sufficiently seasoned in cold storage before ripening are relatively tasteless.
- Ready to eat pears will stay fresh in the refrigerator for between 3-5 days.
The refrigerator will slow down the ripening process, but won't stop it.
- Pears produce odors which may be absorbed by cabbage, celery, onions, carrots and potatoes.
Pears may also absorb odors produced by onions and potatoes.
Take care not to store pears next to these items.
- Handle pears gently to avoid bruising.
Rinse under cool water and don't slice until ready to use as the flesh browns quickly.
History of Okanagan fruit growing & Sun Rype Canada
Tips for canning pears
Recipes for pear desserts
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