Flair with the Pear!

Our Pear Panache program recognizes top chefs from around the country for their innovative flair with pears! Try our award-winning chefs' featured recipes in your own kitchen!

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Questions and Answers

The Pear Bureau strives to be a definitive source of all things pear. On this page you will find answers to the most common questions we receive from consumers. If your question isn't answered here, please contact us and we will do our best to get you the information you seek.

General Questions

Ripening Taste and Cooking Characteristics

Backyard Pear Trees

General Questions

Q: Where are these pears from/grown?


A: These pears are grown in Oregon and Washington where the right mix of volcanic soil, clean mountain water and warm spring and summer days, with cool nights, combine to produce some of the worlds finest pears. Oregon and Washington produce 84% 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 that ripen best off the tree. So Pears are shipped fully mature, but not always ripe. This assures that pears you buy are in good condition to ripen as you need then after you buy them.

Q: What are the nutrition values of pears?


A: Pears are an excellent source of dietary fiber (a medium sized pear has6 grams of fiber, 24% of the recommended daily allowance) and a good source of vitamin C, a proven anti-oxidant. Pears also offer potassium (a medium sized pear has190 mg of potassium). They contain no saturated fat, sodium or cholesterol. A medium pear has about 100 calories. Check out our Nutrition pages for complete pear nutrition values and explanations on the various nutrients.

Q: Why aren't the pears on display as ripe as the ones you are sampling?


A: The pears for sampling were ripened ahead of time so that we can show people how the fruit tastes when it's been properly ripened. Grocery stores often keep less ripe fruit on display so that they can keep them for several days without the fruit getting overripe.

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. This can be slowed by "acidulating" the cut surfaces with a mild solution of water and lemon juice, which can either be brushed on or dipped in. It will not completely stop the browning though, and cut pears should be used as quickly as practical. Lightly poaching pears will also slow the browning and is a good way to prepare pears for use in salads. You can also use natural anti-browning products such as NatureSeal, which will slow down browning for over a week.

Q: How do you freeze pears?


A: We don't recommend freezing fresh pears that have not been processed. The juice and fibers will separate in the thawing process, and the results will not be usable at all. However, freezing a cooked or processed pear (such as pear sauce) to which sugar has been added will work. Pear pie fillings can also be pre-baked and frozen satisfactorily. Make sure the pears are in a tightly sealed container prior to freezing to help reduce freezer burn.

Q: What are other good uses for pears besides eating them fresh or in salads?


A: Pears are very versatile. In addition to being served raw in almost anything, pears bake, poach, sauté, roast and grill very nicely. They can be used as an ingredient in baked goods, and can be made into preserves, jams and chutneys. Anything that can be done with an apple can be done with a pear.

Q: What do I do with my pears when I get them home?


A: If the pears are ripe (see ripening information below), they can be utilized right away or refrigerated to slow further ripening. If they need to be ripened, place them in a paper bag will help them ripen faster. Be sure to check them daily so they don't get overripe. You can also leave them out in a fruit bowl and enjoy their beauty as they ripen.

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Ripening

Q: How do I know when a pear is ripe and ready to eat?


A: Pears do not ripen well on trees. They are harvested mature but unripe and need to be ripened after harvest. Bartlett pears change from green to yellow as they ripen. Non-Bartlett pears (Anjou, Bosc, Comice, Seckel and Forelle) do not dramatically change color as they ripen. Because pears ripen from the inside out, the best way to check for ripeness is to "check the neck for ripeness". To do this, gently press near the stem with your thumb. When it gives to gentle pressure it is ripe, juicy and ready to eat. If you wait until the pear is soft around the middle chances are it will be overripe.

Q: How do you ripen pears? What is the fastest way to ripen them?


A: Placing pears in a paper bag will help them ripen faster. Be sure to check them daily so they don't get overripe. You can also leave them out in a fruit bowl and enjoy their beauty as they ripen. Add apples or bananas to speed up the process. Place ripe pears in the refrigerator to slow further ripening.

Q: Why don't my pears turn from Green to Yellow? I left some on the counter and they never got ripe.... they just turned rotten?


A: You probably had Anjou pears which don't dramatically change color as they ripen. Bartlett pears change from green to yellow indicating when they are ready to eat. But Non-Bartlett pears such as Anjous will keep their basic color as they ripen. The best way to check for ripeness is to "check the neck for ripeness". To do this, gently press near the stem with your thumb. When it gives to gentle pressure it is ripe, juicy and ready to eat. If you wait until the pear is soft around the middle chances are it will be 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.

Q: What are some uses for overripe pears so that I don't waste them?


A: Overripe pears are still delicious, just not ideal for serving whole or sliced. Use them in smoothies, sauces or as a tasty thickening agent for soups, stocks or stews.

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Taste and Cooking characteristics

Q: Are the red pears different from green pears and do they have different flavors?


A: Red pears are a natural variation developed from their green counterpart. Generally the red pears will taste very similar to their green counterpart. For example, a red Bartlett will be similar in taste to a green Bartlett pear, and a red Anjou will taste similar to green Anjou. Pear flavor does change subtly from variety to variety.

Q: Do all of the pears have different flavors? I thought they all taste the same.


A: The pears grown in Oregon and Washington have many subtle and different flavors and textures. · Many people say that the Bartlett has the quintessential pear flavor and aroma. Good for eating fresh and for preserving. · Anjous pears are very juicy and smooth when ripe and have a clean, sweet mellow flavor great for eating out of hand, with cheese or in salads. · Bosc pears are firmer, denser pears with a spicer sweet flavor and slightly crunchy texture. Their denser flesh make them ideal for baking, poaching and even grilling as well as eating fresh. · Comice is often noted for its exceptionally smooth texture and juicy flesh, and goes very well with cheese or as an elegant fresh dessert or in fruit baskets. · Forelle pears are small and sweet. They are juicy with a slightly spicy flavor. · Seckel pears, often called sugar pears for their bursting sweetness, are aromatic and tasty in a small compact package.

Q: Which is the best pear for cooking?


A: Firmer varieties such as Bosc are best for poaching and baking and even grilling. Because their flesh is more dense, they hold their shape better, and their fairly spicy and definitive flavor is not overpowered by the flavors of other cooking ingredients.

Q: Which is the sweetest pear?


A: All pears are sweet, each in their own subtle way. Many people consider Comice and Seckel to have a rich sweetness to them. Anjou is more of a clean sweetness, and Bosc has a spicy sweetness. Be sure to ripen the pears before eating - this allows the sugars to develop in the pear to their sweetest and juiciest best.

Q: Why are some pears brown or have brown spots?


A: Several varieties are naturally brown or have spots called russeting. It is normal for the variety. You cannot judge a pear by its color, as most don't change color as they ripen and the russeted varieties are often the sweetest.

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Care for Pear Trees

Since every climate is unique, the best horticultural advice comes from local sources. We suggest you contact your County Extension Agent or a local nursery for advice on your backyard pear trees.

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