Buy, Store & Prepare
Buying and Storing
Unlike most other fruits, pears don't ripen well on the tree (these can be soft and mushy at the centre). Pears are harvested when mature and allowed to finish ripening under controlled conditions. However, for Pick Your Own, varieties on dwarfing rootstock are popular and can be picked firm-ripe for final ripening at home.
A ripe pear is relatively firm but gives a little when pressed gently. Coloring should be appropriate to its variety (see varieties above). Good quality pears are smooth-skinned, unshrivelled and free of surface markings.
Ripe pears can spoil easily and their flavor is best when cool. So it's wise to refrigerate them and use within a couple of days of purchase.
Handle pears with care to avoid bruising. Simply rinse under cool running water prior to use. Do not peel or core until ready to use.
Pears are ideal as a fresh impromptu snack or a natural dessert. They can also be used for pies and tarts, for baked cakes, crisps and crumbles, dumplings, sherbet, preserves, and even pastas and main-course salads.
Bartletts are good both fresh and for desserts, and they preserve well. Clapps are also well-suited to eating raw and to cooking and poaching.
Anjou is a succulent fresh dessert pear and also cooks and bakes well. Bosc is also great fresh and works well in gently cooked dishes. The Flemish Beauty is good as a raw dessert pear and for baking.
For picnics, Bosc and Flemish Beauty are well suited to packing in a hamper because their skins are relatively durable.