Traditional recipes

In Season: Pears

In Season: Pears

Pears can be used in a variety of fall dishes.

A real challenge for pear enthusiasts is patience. Pears that are perfectly ripe are incredible but also extremely fragile, so growers, shippers, and retailers try to deliver greener, less ripe fruit to prevent bruising. This means some of the fruit you buy at the store may not be at its best eating quality on the same day you buy it. Pears can also go over the edge with ripeness in a way the affects flavor and especially texture, so it pays to plan ahead when buying them.

There are dozens of commercial varieties of pears but I like to lump them into two broad categories:

  • Eat soft: Varieties like the Bartlett, Comice, French Butter, and even Anjou pears can all be eaten firm but are far better if you can wait until they get soft to the touch.
  • Eat firm: Varieties like the Bosc, Seckel, and Asian (apple) pear are meant to be eaten firm.

Your local produce person can help you tell the difference, but here are a few selection tips:

  • Many of the green varieties of pears will turn yellow as they ripen.
  • Avoid pears with bruises or visible breaks in the skin.
  • A pear will ripen from the skinny side first so the best way to tell if your "eat soft" varieties are ready is to gently press around the stem; if it has some give, it is ready to go.

Pears make great snacks but my favorite place to add them is in salads — pears make a great contrast to slightly bitter greens like arugula and watercress and are also excellent with nuts like almonds and pecans. Pears also make for a great addition to a wide range of cheeses as an appetizer (or dessert).

As we move further into the fall, one of the more dramatic changes in produce is the explosion of variety and availability in pears. There is nothing like the start of the domestic pear season to highlight the variety range and quality of pears. And while we say farewell to some of our favorite summer fruits, Mother Nature is ready to provide some replacements for the fall.

James Parker, global associate perishables coordinator for Whole Foods Market

15 Perfect Pear Desserts That'll Make It Your New Favorite Fruit

Step outside the apple box&mdashpears make the perfect addition to pies, tarts, and crisps. And best of all, there are tons of varieties to try out with that are in season at various times throughout the year. Scroll through for all the pear dessert recipes you'll needfrom cinnamon baked pears to pies, cakes, cookies, and more.

These healthy individual baked pears will satisfy all your sweet cravings.

Apples, it was nice meeting you, but pie crust-covered pears are where it's at.

If you've never added peanut butter to your fruit crisps, get ready for your mind to be totally blown.

35 Pear Recipes You'll Love This Season

Poached, peeled, or baked into a pie &mdash there&rsquos so much you can do with pears!

Wondering what to do with lots of pears? Good news: There are so many sweet and savory pear recipes to make if you suddenly find yourself with a full load of the fruit, or if you just want to switch up your go-to apple recipes. Try &lsquoem poached, sliced into a salad, roasted with root veggies, or paired with juicy pork. Bake them into pies, crisps, crumbles and cobblers, or add them to your favorite classic cocktails for a splash of sweetness. Ripe pears lend a juicy, refreshing flavor to everything they touch, and each variety (Anjou, Bartlett, Bosc, Comice, Seckel&mdash the list goes on!) offers a different combo of sweet, tangy, mellow and crisp.

Healthy pear recipes, like fruit salad with Greek yogurt and honey, make great breakfasts, while pear matched with peppery greens and juicy steak makes the ideal salad for lunch. Or maybe you&rsquore more of a healthy sandwich person? The gorgeous grilled cheese with sweet pears, creamy Gouda and Dijon mustard in #15 practically brings tears to our eyes. Get ready to experiment with lots (and lots!) of pears this season.

In Season: Pears! (Tips, Tricks and Recipes)

My Mother-in-Law is blessed with a pear tree. It isn’t the prettiest tree, as several of the neighborhood kids have climbed it breaking branches, and for years we didn’t even know it was a pear tree, because it stood barren. But finally the last four years or so, after some much needed rain, this ugly little tree has produced a pear bounty! Not just a bounty, but a boat load of some of the juiciest, sweetest pears I have ever had! Such a treat!

Since my MIL can’t eat them all, she is kind enough to share, and as soon as the late August heat wave rolls around and those plump little pears start falling from the tree, she calls me over to pick as many as I can reach. Needless to say, because we are blessed with so many pears, I am always looking for some new recipes to use them up. Today, I am sharing an “In Season” post (it’s been awhile!) and highlighting some tips, tricks and recipes using this fresh seasonal fruit!

In Season: Pear season begins in late summer (August/September) with Bartlett pears and continues through the cold winter months (January) when Anjou pears hit their peak.

Nutrition: Pears are a nutrient dense food. They are an excellent source of fiber and vitamins A and C. Pears are low in calories, and are a sodium free, fat free, and cholesterol free food.

Purchasing: Pears, like most fruit, are usually picked when slightly under-ripe and improve flavor and texture after picking. When purchasing pears, look for pears that are bright in color, free of dark spots or blemishes and firm to the touch. Firmer pears are best for cooking, while riper pears are more tender and juicy and best for snacking.

Storing: Storing firmer pears at room temperature will cause the pears to ripen more quickly. For quicker ripening, store pears at room temperature in a bowl with bananas. Softer pears should be refrigerated and enjoyed within 2-3 days.

Pear Varieties:
There are approximately 10 varieties of pears grown in the US. Check out the most common below:

  • Bartlett: This is the most common variety of pears and comes with both in a yellow/greenish and/or red coloring (depending on the ripening stage). Bartlett pears have that classic pear shape and flavor and are crisp and tart (when dark green) or juicy and sweet when ripe (yellowish green). These pears are commonly used for canning but are also great for snacking or adding to salads and cheese platters.
  • Anjou: Are actually the most abundant variety of pear, because they can grow year round. They are larger and have more of an egg shape. While they can come in darker green and red colors, the Anjou pears do not change colors when ripened. To check for ripeness, gently press the top of the pear. If the pear “gives” slightly, it is ready to enjoy. Anjou pears tend to be more firm yet juicy, making them the ideal pear for cooking and snacking.
  • Bosc: This long and skinny pear a dull brownish color, has a firmer more dense skin. Due to this and their strong honey like flavor, Bosc pears are ideal for use in baking, broiling or poaching and are great when pared with strong spices like cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom.
  • Starkrimson: Are commonly referred to as red pears due to their deep crimson color. They are extremely soft and juicy. They have a light, almost floral taste and scent and are great in salads and paired with cheese or wine. Due to their soft texture these pears should be used immediately.
  • Seckels: Are tiny and chubby. They tend to be more bland in taste and have a more gritty texture. They are best used in cooking.

Looking for some fresh, seasonal pear recipes? Check out the collection below with more than 20 recipes from Kitchen Concoctions and around the web!

Pear Recipes

Now, this is how you show off a pretty pear! With a hint of citrus and a drizzle of caramel, this poached beauty is a show stopper.

Pear Pancakes

Put a spin on the classic pancake with this fruity cast-iron skillet version. To spice it up, mix ground cinnamon into the granulated sugar.

Pear & Cheese Crisps

Take pitas to a whole new level with this party snack. Creamy blue cheese and pear combine for a flavor-packed, easy appetizer.

Pear-and-Parsnip Bisque

This creamy soup calls for comice pears -- nicknamed the Queens of Pears -- which are squat guys with a lush fragrance and buttery flesh.

Pear Healthy Recipes : 3 Incredible Pear Recipes | In Season

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I’m sharing my recipes for honey roasted pears, a seasonal pear salad and my incredible Gorgonzola, pear and caramelized onion pizza!

3 Apple Recipes:
Butternut Squash Soup:
3 Pumpkin Recipes:
In Season:

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Pear Salad:
½ cup pecans
1-2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 large pear, cored and thinly sliced
½ cup dried cranberries
½ cup goat cheese, crumbled
6 cups arugula

Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp mustard
salt and pepper

In a frying pan heat butter over medium high heat.
Add brown sugar and stir until it’s dissolved.
Add pecans and toss until they are evenly coated.
Pour nuts on a parchment-lined baking sheet and allow them to cool completely.
In a large bowl top arugula with pear, candied pecans, cranberries
and goat cheese.
In a small bowl whisk olive oil, balsamic vinegar, maple syrup,
mustard, salt and pepper.
Dress salad just before serving.

Pear, Caramelized Onion & Gorgonzola Pizza:
pizza dough
2 tbsp olive oil, divided
½ white onion, thinly sliced
2 pears, cored and thinly sliced
6 slices prosciutto (optional)
½ cup mozzarella cheese
½ cup blue cheese, crumbled
black pepper

Preheat oven to 450°F.
In a frying pan heat half of the olive oil over medium-high heat.
Add onions, reduce heat to medium and cook onion until it begins to brown 8-10 minutes.
Remove onions from pan and set aside.
Spread dough over a well-greased baking sheet.
Coat dough with remaining olive oil.
Top with mozzarella cheese, pear slices, prosciutto, caramelized onions, blue cheese and freshly cracked black pepper.
Bake at 450°F for between 14 and 17 minutes.

Honey Roasted Pears:
2 pears, halved and cored
4 tbsp walnuts, chopped
2 tsp honey
¼ tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375°F.
Arrange pear halves in a baking dish.
Fill core with chopped walnuts.
Drizzle with honey and sprinkle with cinnamon.
Bake at 375°F for 30 minutes or until pears are completely tender.
Serve with vanilla ice cream.

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How to Poach Pears

1. Peel the pears and cut out the cores via the base of the fruit. Some people also slice a few millimeters off the bottom of the pear , creating a flat surface on which it can stand upright. As for the stem, leave it on in the name of style.

2. Next, it’s time to draw a bath for the pears. It’s common to use either water or wine. Although the thought of pears drinking a bottle of red instead of me makes me cringe, this method does lend the final product a vibrant ruby hue. White wine works too, as does apple cider. Depending on your recipe and preference, you’ll also add a sweetener, vanilla, and spices like cinnamon and clove. You’ll bring this mixture to a boil and then down to a simmer. When you add the pears, the liquid should just cover their tops.

3. Let the pears simmer about 20 minutes in their hot tub. You’ll need to turn them a bit every five minutes or so in order to achieve even cooking and coloring throughout. When you think they’re ready, poke one with a knife or fork. If you meet no resistance, it’s time to pull them out.

4. At this point, you may choose to let the pears and the liquid hang out overnight in the fridge, allowing the fruit to absorb even more flavor. Another option is to strain any solids from the liquid and continue reducing it in a saucepan until it reaches a syrup-like consistency. Then drizzle the reduction over the pears before serving.

Cuisinart MultiClad Stainless Steel 4-Quart Saucepan, $39.99 on Amazon

A roomy saucepan is really all you need for poaching pears.

Although they appear glamorous, poached pears are actually quite easygoing. You can serve them warm or cool with pretty much anything from whipped cream to chocolate to cake and pastries. You can keep them in your fridge for up to five days. And you can even add them into baked goods, either whole or diced.

What's in Season: Pears

Pear season begins when Bartlett pears start arriving at the Greenmarkets in late summer. They're soon followed by Bosc and Comice which are in season in the fall through winter. The Anjou is known as a winter pear. But right now they're all available with a large and peak selection in our stores and Greenmarkets. Since there are many to choose from, which you buy will depend upon what you're going to do with them.

While it's always best to eat fruit when it's truly in season, because New York gets produce from all over the world a pear may still be delicious despite being out of the local growing season. The only way to really tell is by buying one and tasting it.

Here are the most popular and commonly bought varieties:

  • Comice -- Many consider this the best eating pear with a smooth and sweet flesh.
  • Bartlett -- The most common pear, this is a sweet and juicy fruit with a green skin that ripes to yellow, sometimes with a blush of red. Best for eating (this is the pear that's used for canned pears).
  • Anjou -- Sweet and juicy, these don't change color when they ripen and are good for both cooking and eating.
  • Seckel -- The smallest of the most common pears, their sweet, spicy flesh can be grainy. Good for cooking
  • Bosc -- A winter pear with a yellow-brown matte skin and creamy white flesh that's ideal for cooking and baking.

What to Look for Beyond the Variety

Pears are tricky to buy because you can't really tell how it will taste just from from looking at it. A pear may appear perfect. But take a bite and it may be grainy and tasteless. That's because a pear's appearance doesn't reveal how it's been harvested, handled and stored -- another argument for buying from local farmers where the odds are greater that you'll be getting a recently picked, carefully handled piece of fruit.

  • Look at the pear. Avoid any with an unappealing skin or bruises.
  • The green skin of Bartlett pears will yellow when they ripen, but most other types of pears do not change appearance when ripening.
  • Unlike most fruit, pears are best picked unripe, and then left to ripen off the tree. So try to buy pears when they're still hard, in advance of when you'll want to eat or cook with them. Then leave the pears on a counter or in a bowl for several days to ripen. They're sensitive to carbon dioxide so don't store them in a plastic bag.

If you want to poach pears but hadn't planned ahead in time to let a pear ripen in your own kitchen, that's okay because even if a pear is hard and unripe, the hot poaching liquid will soften them.

How to Cook with Pears

The simplest way to cook a pear is to poach it in a saucepan filled with either a sugar syrup (1 cup water combined with 1 cup sugar, simmer until the sugar dissolves) or a combination of sugar syrup and wine (use white or red wine in place of half the water). You can poach a pear peeled and left whole, or else peel and cut it in half, scooping out the core with a melon baller. A medium-sized whole Bosc pear will poach in about 45 minutes. When the flesh is tender, remove it from the hot liquid and let it cool to room temperature before serving or refrigerating. If you want to serve the poaching liquid, boil it for a few minutes to reduce and slightly thicken it which will intensify its sweet, pear flavor.

A perfect dessert is a poached pear served with a piece of cheese or a spoonful of Parmesan Foam (see our recipe) or with a drizzle of caramel sauce.

Pears are also a perfect centerpiece in a simple cake or a fruit tart, such as the classic Pear Frangipane tart that combines slices of pears with almond paste. We've included a link to a Martha Stewart recipe for Baked Pears with Cream that produces the flavor of a pear tart without the trouble of making a pastry dough.

Pears also can be part of a savory dish, as in a compliment to meats, especially pork. A popular Italian combination is cubes of butternut squash tossed with cubes of pears, each cooked in a sauté pan with a little butter until tender -- cook them separately and then combine because the squash takes longer to cook. It's a wonderful side dish for a simple roasted pork loin.

Nashi Japanese Pear – In Season Now – Best Nashi Recipes

I have tested close to 20 Nashi Japanese Pear recipes the last week and this these are by far my favorites. Hope you enjoy!

1. Chilled Peeled Nashi – Simple is best. Chill the nashi in the fridge for a few hours, then peel and slice. My kids can eat these all day. Juicy and crisp. Perfect on a hot day.

2. Nashi Crumble Muffins – I love muffins. My favorite place for muffins in Tokyo is City Bakery in Hiroo. When I do have time I love to make muffins and these are moist and delicious. Great in nashi season. Here is a great recipe from

3. Poached Cinnamon Nashi Pears – Super easy to make and perfect with ice-cream. This is the perfect dessert served hot off the store or cooled. Recipe on

4. Nashi Pear, Rocket and Perconio Romano Salad In Honey-Lemon Vinaigrette – An easy and light summer salad. Any kind of hard cheese works well in this salad it does not need to be served with Perconio cheese. The honey-lemon vinaigrette is amazing. Recipe from

5. Baked Nashi Pear – Perfect on a cool early autumn evening or for breakfast! You can really stuff and bake with any ingredients that your family enjoys. Recipe from

6. Roasted Pork with Nashi Stuffing – An amazing family meal on Sunday night. If you can not find a port loin you can make the stuffing and place in roasting pan with Pork Chops. Recipe from

7. Asian Pear Upside Down Cake – If you are looking for an easy cake with ingredients that all Japanese supermarkets sell here it is. This Nashi Cake is moist and very tasty but not too sweet. Try it! Recipe from

8. Asian Pear Pie – Love that I can have a juicy pie in August filled with crispy moist Nashi. This pie is so good you will wish Nashi were available all year long. Recipe from

Pear and Walnut Conserve

The Spruce / Sean Timberlake

This richly flavored Italian pear and walnut conserve, called a savòr, makes the most of sweet pears, meaty walnuts, and whole lemons. Pectin in the lemon rinds will help it set up naturally without any additional ingredients. The finished product tastes delicious as a spread on whole-grain bread spooned into yogurt, or even as a sauce for pork or chicken.