Pears are often overlooked, as they are harvested in fall and winter, but seem to be available year-round. Pears offer unique flavor profiles that get sweeter, as they are picked at the first hint of ripeness, and capture a unique taste from buttery to fall-seasoned (think a bit of spice), but all are sweet, juicy and make lovely presentations.
There are actually 3000+ varieties of pears worldwide. But, the first was planted in 1620 in the Massachusetts Bay colony (we got the pear thing going). You see a lot of pears in Asian cuisine, particularly the Asian pear, which is sweet — but never too — and boasts a crunchy, crispy texture. Great for cooking! The Chinese consider the pear (“li”) to be a symbol of immortality. In that same vein, the destruction of a pear tree symbolizes tragic or untimely death.
Speaking of which, pears are actually pretty good for you, packing fiber, vitamins and beneficial plant compounds. Be sure to eat the peel, as it contains many of the pear’s nutrients.
Get a Pear for Yourself!
We carry a number of pears at Giant Eagle, but our most popular pears are:
Many of our stores also carry:
• Asian Pears
• Seckel Pears
• Forelle Pears
Choosing & Storing
When choosing pears, press at the stem. If it is a bit soft, the pear is ripe. Obviously, a softer pear is overripe cut can still be used in smoothies! Hard pears will ripen quickly at room temperature. Much like avocadoes, it is good to keep an eye on them; they have a rather small ripening window: one day hard, the next perfect, the third a bit soft.
And, you’d be surprised how very versatile pears are. From salads to appetizers to a pork loin entrée, they add a sweet touch and toothsome texture. These are four recipes that take advantage of the pear’s unique sweet.