Learn About Produce

Pears

Selection

When choosing pears, look for solid fruit that yields to gentle pressure. Choose firm pears if intended for baking. Avoid those with scars or bruises.

Select pears that meet the ideal description for their variety. Yellow Bartlett pears should be light green to yellow (yellow skin on a Bartlett pear indicates ripeness; the ripe yellow Bartlettpear should be eaten as soon as possible) and yield slightly to gentle pressure. Red Bartletts should be red-brown and yield slightly to gentle pressure. Bosc pears are brown and have a more slender, accentuated neck than other varieties. While Bartlett and Bosc pears have pronounced necks, many other pears are plump and may lack the characteristic pear silhouette. Green Anjous should be green while red Anjous are a purple-red; neither Anjou varieties change color when ripe. Similarly, Comice pears’ yellow skin with a red blush does not change during the ripening process. Seckel Pears are small in comparison to other varieties. Seckel are characterized by maroon and pea-green skin. For pears that do not change color when ripe (Green and Red Anjous, Comice, Seckel), make your selection based on firmness of flesh (for pears you intend to keep beyond a day) or a slight give in flesh (for pears you intend to eat immediately). Forelle pears evolve from green to yellow during the ripening process, always with a speckling of red. Forelles are slightly larger than Seckels, and should be selected firm for short-term storage, or slightly tender for immediate consumption.

Storage

Ripen pears in a paper bag or covered bowl (with slight ventilation) at room temperature for 2 to 3 days until fragrant and soft to the touch. Once ripe, pears will keep up to 3 days if refrigerated in a plastic bag.

Usage

Wash pears before eating. Pear skin adds to the fruit’s fiber content so there is no need to peel the fruit before eating. It is, however, possible to do so with a vegetable peeler or paring knife. Apply as little pressure as possible to a pear when peeling; this is easy if the peeler or knife is extra sharp.

Pears are great as a snack. Just slice and eat. Pears can be poached, baked, or microwaved in a variety of entrée or dessert recipes. Bosc pears are recommended for heavy cooking because they have dense flesh and retain shape. Comice and Anjou pair well with cheese for an appetizer or dessert. Anjou also poach well. Seckel and Bartlett pears are great in salad. Bartletts are recommended for canning and, when slightly firm, for cooking. Sweet Seckels and Forelles are excellent children’s snacks, and their colorful skin makes them a beautiful garnish.

Pears

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Nutrition

Pears are a good source of potassium, with about 210 mg in a medium-size pear. Pears also provide about 10 percent of the RDA for vitamin C. Additionally, pears are a good source of natural dietary fiber and crude fiber.

Serving size 3.5 oz (2/3 of a large pear)
  %DV
Calories 59  
Fat <1g  
Saturated Fat <1g  
Protein 1g  
Carbohydrate 15g  
Cholesterol 0mg  
Sodium 0mg  

*The wellness Encyclopedia of Food and Nutrition