Puzzling Pears

So I started off 2014 with trying pears for the month of January.  Pears seem like they should be similar to apples which are currently part of my diet so hopefully a relatively easy transition.

My Thoughts on Pears

So my first thought when I tried the pear was that, just like I anticipated, the texture is very similar to an apple.  The taste is actually kind of similar as well.  Overall I thought pears were slightly sweet and somewhat grainy.  The inconsistent skin colors kind of weird me out but it seems like that is normal for pears.  I tried a couple different kinds of pears; some with green skin,  some with brown and one with yellow.  I thought the first one I tried was less juicy than an apple and more concentrated.  But with the second one I tried it was a little juicier than the first and softer since it had more time to mature.  The first one I had probably wasn’t quite mature yet based on the  helpful information below I found describing how to select your pears and when they are good to eat.  After those first two I was able to figure out when the pears were appropriately ripe and they are a lot juicier and soft once they are appropriately ripe.  Their skin is pretty thin and a lot easier to bruise at that point as well.  Also based on the variety there were differently levels of sweetness and graininess.  Overall, I still like apples better but pears are ok too.

When are Pears Ripe?

Since pears are very perishable once they are ripe, the pears you find at the market will generally be unripe and will require a few days of maturing.  Look for pears that are firm, but not too hard.  They should have a smooth skin that is free of bruises or mold.  The color of good quality pears may not be uniform as some may feature russetting where there are brown-speckled patches on the skin; this is an acceptable characteristic and oftentimes reflects a more intense flavor.  Avoid pears that are punctured or have dark soft spots.  Pears are found in a variety of colors, including many different shades of green, red, yellow/gold, and brown.

Healthy Fun Facts About Pears

Recent studies have shown that the skin of pears contains at least three to four times as many phenolic phytonutrients as the flesh. These phytonutrients include antioxidant, anti-inflammatory flavonoids, and potentially anti-cancer phytonutrients like cinnamic acids. The skin of the pear has also been show to contain about half of the pear’s total dietary fiber which might help protect us from development of type 2 diabetes as well as heart disease.  So try not to peel the skin off before eating your pear or you could be missing out on a lot of the health benefits!

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