Green, yellow, or red, pot-bellied or elongated, raw or cooked, pears thrill our taste buds and keep us healthy, summer and winter, and that is not new!
Pear identity card
Headstand (Pyrus communis) is a fruit tree of the Rosaceae family (in the same way apple trees, the Cherry trees, peach trees, plum trees…). Like many other fruit trees, its (very ancient) origins are in Central Asia; This does not mean, however, that its arrival in Europe is recent. Indeed, we have to go back in time to the Neolithic era to find the first traces of wild pear trees in Swiss lake towns. As for its domestication, it seems to begin during Antiquity, with the first cultivation and the first transplants carried out by Roman agronomists and whose aim was to improve the taste qualities of the fruits which, at that time, were characterized by a small size, a “stony” texture and a pungent taste. But despite the early interest in pears, it was not until the XVIIe century that they will become very popular and fashionable fruits. It must be said that over the course of its transformations, they had greatly improved.
The pear season
There are two groups of pears according to their ripening:
- early varieties, picked during the summer (mid-July to September), which can only be kept for a very short time (consumption possible until October);
- fall and winter varieties (pears for keeping) picked from September to November and suitable for long storage (consumption possible until February / March).
Although there are over 2,000 varieties of pears, only about ten are for sale on the stalls.
Among the most common varieties of summer pears:
- ‘Dr Jules Guyot’ (‘La Guyot’): large yellow pear speckled with pink. Melting but fragile flesh. Availability: mid-July / end of September.
- ‘Williams’ (‘Bon-Chrétien’): straw yellow pear tinted with vermilion, juicy and sweet (very good taste quality). Availability: September / end of October.
Among the most common varieties of autumn / winter pears:
- ‘Conference’: elongated greenish-yellow pear. Juicy and slightly tart. Availability: October / end of February.
- ‘Doyenné du Comice’ (‘La Comice’): smooth and yellow pear washed with red. Very fine and sweet but fragile flesh (excellent taste quality). Availability: October / end of March.
- ‘Angys’ (‘Angélys’): new bronze yellow winter pear, tender and very fragrant with good storage capacity. Availability: December / June.
How to choose pears?
Pears are among the fruits that continue to ripen after harvest. Depending on your needs, buy them more or less firm, at different stages of maturity.
To know : summer pears are to be consumed quickly because they are sold when ripe. Pears for keeping are bought firm and a little green to be ripened at home.
How to store pears?
Ripe pears: 2 or 3 days, in a room at room temperature (20 ° C). If it is too hot, store them in the crisper of the refrigerator.
Unripe pears: in a cool (ideally 3 to 4 ° C), dark and ventilated room, on open shelves and arranged in a single layer, without them being in contact with each other. The shelf life will depend on the stage of maturity and the freshness of the piece.
The nutritional qualities of pears *
The pear is a fruit rich in insoluble and soluble fibers (3.10 g / 100 g) which help improve intestinal transit (insoluble fiber), control blood sugar levels as well as reduce cholesterol levels and the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Alkalizing, low in calories and moisturizing (85.30 g of water per 100g of pear) it is also interesting for many nutrients that it contains – even if it is in moderate quantities – and which are necessary for a balanced diet: vitamins A, B (including 6.39 VNR of vitamin B9 per 100g of pear), C and K, copper (5% NRVs), potassium 4,95 % of NRVs), magnesium, phosphorus, calcium, antioxidants …
Should I peel the pears before eating them?
If the pears are not organic, yes. If they are organic, it would be a shame because it is mainly in the skin what are the vitamins, the antioxidants and insoluble fibers (be careful, consumed in excess, the latter can irritate the intestines). In addition, the skin gives the fruit its much appreciated “terroir” flavor!
How to eat pears?
To make the most of the flavor and benefits of pear, all you have to do is bite into it, or mix it (without the skin) to transform it into a “puree” suitable for young children. Raw, you can also seed it and cut it into pieces to integrate it into a refreshing fruit salad, or add a sweet touch to a vegetable salad.
Cooked, it allows the preparation of tasty desserts (example of Pear & almond cake) but little as well integrate some salty recipes (example of Buckwheat pancakes with a mishmash of black radish and pear).
Ready to grow a pear tree?
Do you love pears and want to plant a pear tree? To find out how, it’s here: Pear tree (Pear).
*Sources : ANSES 2020 (Nutritional composition table of Ciqual foods) / aprifel.com.
** VNR: nutritional reference value, formerly called Recommended Daily Allowance (RDI)
Source: Au Jardin, conseils en jardinage by www.aujardin.info.
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