Thursday, September 25, 2008

Discovering pears

I always loved pears. For 25 years, while I was living in Buenos Aires, I'd buy my pears at Carlitos' store. It was simple, I'd ask for 1kg, he'd ask if it was for today (that's how they determined the ripeness back then), and I'd go home to enjoy my bag of fresh juicy treats. End of the story.

But since I moved to Canada I discovered that diversity not only involves's about fruit too! So many varieties, colours, confusing and enticing at the same time! So I decided to do a little research. Next time I go to Sobeys I'll be an expert :-D

When selecting the perfect pear, look for pears that are firm, not soft, free of blemishes or bruises, with intact stems. To determine if your pear is ready to eat, apply gentle pressure to the stem end of the pear with your thumb and if it yields slightly it is ready.

Yellow Bartlett (BART-let)
Available: August through January
Ripens to bright yellow. Aromatic, perfect for fresh eating. Very sweet and juicy. Excellent for canning or cooking.

Red Bartlett and Starkrimson (BART-let, star-KRIM-son)
Available: August through January
Bright red skin when fully ripe. Similar flavor,texture and use as yellow Bartletts.

Green Anjou (ON-ju)
Available: October through June
Abundant juice and sweet flavor when ripe.They do not change color as they ripen.

Red Anjou (ON-ju)
Available: October through May
Much the same flavor and texture as green Anjous. Remains maroon red ripe.

Bosc (BAHSK)
Available: September through April
Highly aromatic flavorful pear. Dense flesh makes it ideal for baking and cooking. They are brown and often russeted. They do not change color as they ripen.

Comice (Co-MEESE)
Available: September through February
One of the sweetest, juiciest varieties, and often are very large. An elegant dessert pear that's excellent with cheese. Almost no color change when ripe.

Concorde (CON-kord)
Available: September through January
Known for its tall, elongated neck and firm, dense flesh. Skin is a beautiful golden green and oftentimes has golden yellow russeting in spots. Has a vanilla-sweet flavor and firm texture that holds up well when baking, grilling, or poaching. Shows little color change during ripening.

Seckel (SEK�L)
Available: September through February
Tiny pears with ultra-sweet flavor, maroon and olive green in color. Excellent choice for children's snacks, pickling, or as a garnish. No color change when ripened.

Forelle (For-ell)
Available: September through February
A smaller variety. Turns bright yellow with crimson freckling when ripe. Sweet, very juicy.