Pears are a good source of fiber, antioxidants and vitamin C. Pears seldom cause allergies and are usually safe for infants and small children. Research suggests that regularly eating pears and other fruits may even guard against macular degeneration, the leading cause of vision loss.
If you’re wondering about selecting, ripening or preparing pears, here’s some great information from USA Pears:
Q: Where are USA Pears grown?
A: USA Pears are mostly grown in Oregon and Washington, which produce 88% of the nation’s fresh pear crop.
Q: The pears I find in the grocery store are hard and green. Why?
A: Pears are a unique fruit in that they ripen best off the tree. As such, pears are transported when they’re fully mature, but not always ripe. This assures that pears you buy are in good condition to properly ripen at home after you buy them.
Q: How can I keep cut pears from browning?
A: Browning, or oxidation, is a natural process that occurs when cut pears are exposed to oxygen. It can be slowed by “acidulating” the cut surfaces with a mild solution of 50% water and 50% lemon juice, which can either be brushed on or dipped in. Although this won’t completely stop the browning, it will provide you with a little extra time to enjoy your delicious fruit. You also can use natural antibrowning products such as NatureSeal, which will slow browning for over a week.
Q: What should I do with my pears when I get them home?
A: If the pears are ripe, they can be used right away or refrigerated to slow further ripening. If they need to be ripened, you must leave them at room temperature. Some people put them in a paper bag to help them ripen faster. Be sure to check them daily so they don’t get overripe.
Q: How long will pears keep in the fridge?
A: Once they are ripened, pears will generally keep in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days. Unripe fruit can generally be kept for a week or more, however, pears will not ripen properly inside the fridge.
You also can arrange them in a fruit bowl and place them on the kitchen counter, dining room table or even in the living room so you can enjoy their beauty as they ripen.
Angela Shelf Medearis is the author of seven cookbooks. Her new cookbook is “The Kitchen Diva’s Diabetic Cookbook.”