These fall favorites are at their juicy best right now. Here are 7 deliciously simple ways to enjoy them.

By Real Simple
Updated September 25, 2009
Jose Picayo

How to choose them: 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. Common varieties include (shown above, from top): Anjou, which is egg-shaped with a green, rose-tinged green, or red skin; Bosc, which has a slender neck and a brown skin (dig in early―Boscs are flavorful even before fully ripe); and Bartlett, which has a red skin or a green skin that yellows as it ripens.

How to store them: Let pears ripen at room temperature. When they’re ready to eat, the flesh on the neck of the fruit will give a little when pressed. Refrigerate ripe pears for up to 5 days.

How to use them: Try these recipes with any type of pear.

  • Grilled Ham, Cheddar, and Pear Sandwich: Make a sandwich with raisin-walnut bread, Dijon mustard, smoked ham, Cheddar, and sliced pears. Pan-fry in butter until the cheese is melted and the bread is crisp.
  • Savory Roasted Pears: Toss quartered firm pears with red onion wedges, fresh thyme, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast at 400° F until the pears are tender. Serve with roasted chicken or pork loin.
  • Pear and Prosciutto Flat Bread: Top store-bought pizza dough with sliced pears, thinly sliced prosciutto, and grated Pecorino. Bake at 450° F until golden brown.
  • Gingery Pear and Cabbage Slaw: Toss shredded cabbage with thinly sliced pears, sliced scallions, grated fresh ginger, and fresh lemon juice. Serve with broiled fish, seared pork chops, or sautéed shrimp.
  • Pear-Apple Sauce: Simmer equal parts chopped pears and apples with a bit of sugar and cinnamon until the fruit breaks down and the sauce thickens.
  • Baked Pears with Pecans: Halve and core pears. Top with brown sugar and chopped pecans and bake at 375° F until the pears are tender. Serve with vanilla ice cream.
  • Sparkling Pear Sangria: Combine one part apple juice, two parts sparkling wine, and a dash of Triple Sec. Stir in sliced pears and serve over ice.