Pears come in many shapes and sizes, and can be green, yellow, red or brown. The most common varieties in Australia are Beurre Bosc, Packham’s Triumph, Williams/Bartlett and Josephine.
Look for smooth, firm pears that aren’t overly hard and have a pleasant smell. If ripe, the flesh will yield when pressed near the stem. Avoid bruises, mould or breaks in the skin.
Pears should be stored at room temperature until they ripen, which can take up to seven days. You can keep ripe pears in the fridge for up to a week – but don’t store them too closely together or in an airtight bag or container as they produce ethylene gas, which accelerates spoiling. Store separately from strong-smelling foods such as apples and onions.
You can eat pears raw with the skin on, although some recipes may require you to peel the skin before use. Always wash before eating to remove germs, dirt or pesticide residue.
5 quick ways with pears
Toss fresh baby spinach leaves, parmesan cheese and slices of ripe pear together in a salad bowl. Drizzle lightly with good quality extra-virgin olive oil and caramelised balsamic vinegar for a delicious summer accompaniment to almost any dish.
Unexpected guests? Wrap wedges of ripe pear in slices of thinly shaved ham, or proscuitto, and spear with toothpicks for a flavourful and impressive hors d’oeuvre.
Add thin slices of crunchy pear to your cheese sandwich for a delightfully textured addition to a simple, healthy lunch.
Pear sorbet makes a refreshing treat. Dissolve caster sugar in some water over low heat, let cool then stir in juiced pears and lemon. Freeze, then process with egg white until smooth.
Instead of using apple for making crumble, use Beurre Bosc pears instead. Or use them in combination with Granny Smith apples.