October 04, 2013 at 4:31 PM
Photo courtesy of Pear Bureau Northwest
Today, the U.S. is the third largest pear producing country in the world and the orchards in North Central Washington constitute one of America’s prime growing regions. Our Cascade foothills in particular allow this old-world delight to flourish to perfection. Harvest has kicked off around the region with all the varieties becoming available in October.
Celebrate fall with mouth watering pears! Here is a list of the main varieties and their characteristics. Try several varieties, or try them all this season.
1. Anjou – refreshingly sweet and juicy with a hint of citrus
2. Red Anjou – aromatic, juicy, fresh and sweet
3. Bartlett – signature pear flavor with abundant juice
4. Red Bartlett – juicy and sweet with a floral essence
5. Bosc – crisp and woodsy with a honey sweetness
6. Comice – succulent, buttery, and exceptionally sweet
7. Concorde – crunchy and earthy with a hint of vanilla
8. Forelle – crisp, tangy, and refreshingly sweet
9. Seckel – bite-sized, crunchy and ultra-sweet
10. Starkrimson – aromatic, moist and sweet with a floral essence
Check out Pear Bureau Northwest to learn more.
Enjoying Your Pears
It may be surprising to learn that pears, by nature, ripen best off the tree. They are generally picked when they have matured but are still hard and not ripe for eating. Much of their sweetness develops as they ripen in your home. If left on the tree to ripen, the result would be a dryer piece of fruit. A mature pear, however, picked at the right time and ripened at room temperature is juicy, sweet and oh-so smoothly delicious.
After you purchase your pears, put a few on the counter or in a bowl where you can keep an eye on them. Pears are social fruits, preferring to ripen in a group, even in a paper bag. Not ready to eat your pears right away? No problem, they will keep well in a cool place--the refrigerator is best--until you are ready to trigger the ripening process. The most reliable way to select a ripe pear is to apply a little pressure with your thumb to the neck near the stem. If the flesh 'gives' when pressed, it is ready. Enjoy!