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6 Pear Varieties Make for Endless Pairing Ideas for your New Fall Menu

September 5, 2019

Late summer brings the start of pear season. But pears are as different as they are alike. We invite you to be inspired by our autumn pear guide, highlighting a pear for every need and every palette.

Bosc

Discovered in the early 1800’s, it is still debated whether this pear is native to France or Belgium. Golden tan to cinnamon brown with natural russeting, the bosc pear is crisp, complex and juicy with a honey aroma and sweet, woodsy taste. Although the standard method of gently pressing the neck to evaluate ripeness can be used, this pear will give to pressure less than other varieties when ripe and can be enjoyed before its flesh has fully softened.

Premier Pairing: The bosc’s firm and dense flesh allows it to retain its shape and texture for cooking applications such as baking, poaching, broiling and drying. Another advantage is the bosc pear’s flavor can hold up to strong spices like clove, nutmeg and cinnamon. Enjoy this fruit in tarts, sliced into pancakes, on top of pizza or sautéed and serve over frozen yogurt with honey and your favorite nut topping.

 

 Comice

Sometimes referred to as the “Christmas Pear,” the French Comice pear is one of the sweetest and juiciest of all varieties. Succulent and buttery in texture, its flavor delights with silky, mellow and earthy notes. Squat in shape, with an occasional red blushing, the yellow-green skin of the Comice bruises easily, but this does not necessarily mean the inside is affected.

Premier Pairing: Creamy, soft ripening cheeses steal the show when paired with the Comice pear. Think brie or blue, but any cheese will do. This pear’s extreme juiciness makes it best for fresh applications, as it tends to fall apart when cooked. Slice into tender leaf salads, feature on grazing boards, or puree into soups or cocktails. Rosemary, curry, turmeric, coconut, onion and garlic all compliment the flavor of the Comice pear.

 

Asian

Said to have originated in China and Japan over 3000 years ago, Asian pears are crisp, sweet and floral. Usually round in shape, they have a golden yellow to bronze coloring, and are highly aromatic. Unlike most in their family, Asian pears ripen on the tree, and are only picked after they are already ripe.  Handle them with care, as their fragile skin can easily bruise and discolor.

Premier Pairing: Crunchy, juicy and creamy, the Asian pear does well in fruit or green salads, stir frys, coleslaws, risottos or even steamed. They also work great as a garnish, whether it’s for a cocktail, a relish or even a sauce or reduction. Often compared to an apple, the Asian pear can be substituted in many recipes calling for this fruit.

 

 Forelle

Small, crisp and tangy, Forelles change from a green to a yellow blushed with red as they ripen. They are also speckled with red dots known as lenticels, making them one of the most colorful varieties. Refreshing, juicy and sweet, with a tinge of cinnamon, Forelles are also the most limited commercially grown pear in the Northwest. Fun fact, the word forelle means trout in German, which is where they originated.

Premier Pairing: The dense, firm flesh of Forelles make them perfect for layering in paninis, sandwiches, grilled cheese and even quesadillas. In fact, their flavor pairs exceptionally well with aged cheeses. You can also cut them up into salsas, or toppings for oatmeal, cereal and waffles. Looking for a dessert? They are great dipped in chocolate or caramel.

 

Seckel

One of the smallest pears, the Seckel pear is bite-sized and tear-shaped. It is also proclaimed by some as the sweetest pear, and has been nicknamed the ‘sugar pear’ or ‘candy pear’. Its smooth green skin is often flushed red, and its creamy white flesh is coarse, dense and moist. Their miniature size and a hint of spice makes them a favorite for snacking.

Premier Pairing: Seckel pairs can be poached, pickled and canned whole. They also enhance dishes with ham, chicken or pork, and can be chopped into a chutney or simmered into a sauce. You can even incorporate them into seafood recipes with shrimp or in sushi. Don’t forget about more traditional applications like muffins, pies and crisps.

 

 Anjou

Subtly sweet, with a touch of citrus, Anjou pears lend a refreshing, juicy bite that is soft, buttery and gritty in texture. Their bright lime green skin is often freckled with lenticels and sometimes flushed with a rosy glow on one side. They are named after a growing region in France.

Premier Pairing: Dense flesh allows for success in cooking applications such as grilling, roasting and baking. Serve Anjou pears in pasta, with beef, pork or mozzarella, in wraps or wrapped in prosciutto, or blended into smoothies. This isn’t to say they aren’t delectable eaten fresh. Their versatility and long shelf life make them a superstar in the culinary world.