Favorite Fall Fruits: Pears

Juicy and sweet, with a soft, buttery yet somewhat grainy texture, pears can be enjoyed starting on Phase 2 of the South Beach Diet (stick with one medium pear). While you can find pears in your supermarket year-round, they are particularly good right now. Depending upon the variety, a pear’s skin can be yellow, green, brown, red, or a combination of these colors. Among the most common types of pears are Bosc (which feature a russet skin and sweet-tart flavor), Bartlett (smooth-skinned and extra juicy), Anjou (these have a firm flesh and sweet taste), and Comice (which are very fragrant and are prized for their smooth, sweet flesh). Pears are a rich source of soluble fiber and other nutrients. Here are some tips for buying, storing, and enjoying pears:

Buying and Storing Pears
Most of the pears you find in the supermarket are not yet ripe. This is because ripe pears bruise easily and would probably not survive transport, so they are picked and shipped in an unripened state. When you purchase pears, avoid those with bruises or blemishes.

Once you get them home, you can ripen them at room temperature. Ripe pears will yield to gentle pressure at the stem end. Once they are ripe, you can then place them in the refrigerator for a few days. Never put pears in a sealed plastic bag: The lack of oxygen will cause the fruit to brown to the core. As with any other fruit, be sure to wash pears before eating.

7 Delicious Ways to Enjoy Pears
Enjoy a fresh pear out of hand along with some cheese or a handful or nuts for a healthy snack, or add pears to any number of dishes. Here are a few delicious and healthy ways to enjoy pears:

  • Add diced pears to your morning oatmeal.
  • Add diced fresh or dried pears to breads or muffins, such as traditional bran muffins.
  • Create a reduced-fat goat cheese and pear “sandwich,” using whole-grain crackers for a midmorning or midafternoon snack.
  • Toss thinly sliced pears into an arugula and frisée salad with a Dijon vinaigrette.
  • Serve halved baked pears with a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese as a side dish with pork tenderloin.
  • Purée or dice pears for sauces to accompany duck breast or game meats.
  • Poach pears and drizzle with a little melted dark chocolate for a sweet dessert.

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