Varieties: At their best in May: Josephine, which are round with light green skin and sweet, yellowish flesh; Williams or Bartlett, larger pears with yellow-green skin and juicy white flesh, and the variety most often used in desserts; Packham’s Triumph, which are round, sweet and have yellow skin; Sensation, which have a similar shape to a Williams pear, but glossy red skin and firm flesh; Buerre Bosc, which are bell-shaped, with greenish-brown skin, juicy white flesh and a long shelf life; and Nashi (Japanese for ‘pear’), which is a round Asian pear, with yellowishgreen speckled skin and creamy white flesh.
Buying: All types of pears should be firm and plump, bright in colour and free of any soft spots or bruising.
Storing: Pears ripen within 3–5 days at room temperature and once ripe, should be stored in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
Preparing: Pears can be eaten raw or cooked, with or without the skin, but remove the seeds before eating. Pears can be poached, grilled, baked or even barbecued.
4 quick ways with pears
For a quick and healthy snack, top slices of pear with sharp cheddar, tasty cheese, low-fat cottage cheese or Camembert.
Substitute pears for apples in a Waldorf salad: in a large serving bowl, combine rocket and baby spinach leaves, a cored, sliced pear, a chopped celery stalk, crumbled blue cheese and toasted walnuts. Dress with extra virgin olive oil and a splash each of lemon juice and white wine vinegar.
Spice up breakfast with cinnamon pear pancakes. Add a finely chopped pear and a teaspoon each of ground cinnamon, vanilla extract and honey to pancake batter. Serve cooked pancakes with passionfruit yoghurt and a sprinkle of cinnamon.
Toss peeled, cored pears into a roasting pan, dot with reduced-fat dairy spread, sprinkle with brown sugar and bake for 30 minutes at 180ºC. Serve with low-fat vanilla ice-cream.
Did you know? Pears (eaten with the skin on) are a good source of insoluble fibre.