At their best, pears are sweet, soft, juicy, and delicately perfumed.
Season: August through November.
How to Choose Pears
Pears ripen off the tree, so most of the fruit you’ll find at the market will need a few days to soften at home. Buy specimens that are smooth, free of bruises, and firm. An unripe pear has a bright and shiny skin; a ripe one looks matte. Common varieties include Anjou, which is egg-shaped with a green, rose-tinged green, or red skin; Bosc, which has a slender neck and a brown skin; Bartlett, which has a red skin or a green skin that yellows as it ripens; and Comice, a short, green to brown variety.
How to Ripen Pears
Stand pears, unwashed (moisture speeds decay), on their bottoms and let them ripen at room temperature for up to 5 days. To hasten the process, place one in a pierced paper bag with an apple, which releases ethylene, a gas that helps ripen certain fruits and vegetables. When they’re ready to eat, the flesh on the neck will give a little when pressed. Refrigerate ripe pears for up to 5 days.
How to Prepare Pears
If you’re serving uncooked pears, cut them just before using; sprinkle the flesh with lemon juice to prevent browning.
How to Use Pears
Pears take well to baking, roasting, sautéing, or poaching in wine; when cooking, use fruit that is still firm.
Real Simple Pear Recipes:
- Apple and Pear Crumb Pie
- Apple-Pear Galette
- Prosciutto-Wrapped Pork With Sweet Potatoes and Pears
- Cinnamon-Poached Pears With Caramel
- Pear and Apricot Tart
Fruits and vegetables at their peak right now.
Find out what's in season in your area right now, then locate a farmers' market near you.