To some, a pear is an apple’s ugly step-sister. They start to appear in stores around the time New York apples do. Most of the United States pears are grown in Washington or Oregon. For the most part softer fleshed varieties will have a buttery texture and firmer flesh varieties will have just a hint tartness to them before finishing with a mellow sweetness. I like the firmer fleshed pears. They eat more like a crisp apple. Pears are an acquired taste but if you want to try a fall fruit other than an apple, a pear if your best bet. When I was younger I did not like them. Now, I can’t get enough of them. When choosing a pear make sure it has its stem attached to it. As with all fruit, the stem will prolong it lifespan.
Below are the most common varieties of pears. You can let me know which ones are your favorites in the comments section below.
The Bosc pear is available from September thru April. It is the outlier in appearance as it has a long, thin
neck with a unique gold and russet brown skin. The skin’s texture reminds me of a potato, as if it has been grown in the soil. The flesh is firm and it has a fantastic crunch to it. You will get a little bit of an earthy overtone from its skin and a hint of tartness before it finishes with a nice, honey-like sweetness. This is my favorite pear.
The Forelle pear is available from October thru March. It is bell-shaped and smaller than your average pear.. You want to look for a nice red blush on its yellow-green skin that is marked by little red and brown dots. Produce experts like to refer to them as freckles. The flesh is firmer than most varieties even when ripe and there is a nice balance between tart and sweet. This is a great pear for poaching because cooking brings out more of its natural flavor.
The Comice pear is available from September thru March. It has a lower profile and is very round and fat with almost no neck. You want to look for a nice red blush on the green skin that will turn to yellow as it ripens. The flesh is very soft and creamy so you will need to handle it carefully. Its sweetness is very mellow and many people think it is the best tasting of all pears.
The Bartlett pear is an early season variety that is available from August thru January. It comes in both green and red varieties and is the quintessential pear. The green variety turns to golden yellow as the pear ripens. I look for ones with a faint red blush to them. I would recommend smelling the pear before purchasing. It should have a very sweet aroma. They have the signature pear flavor and are extremely juicy with soft flesh. You’ll need to eat this one with a napkin.
The Seckel pear is available from September thru February. They are the smallest variety of pear and are round and fat with a short neck. The skin is green with a large deep maroon blush that can sometimes extend to half of the skin. The green will turn yellowish as the pear ripens. They are probably the sweetest variety you will find.
The D’Anjou pear is available from September thru July and come in both green and red varieties. The name is taken from the French phrase “beurre d’Anjou” meaning the butter of Anjou, referring to the famous French dairy region. When the green D’Anjou ripens the skin will have a yellow hue to it but still maintain most of its green coloring. The flesh is firm and dense but its texture is like biting into a stick of butter. In a good way. This pear is a very sweet and juicy.
This week’s tip: You want to ripen your pears at room temperature until the flesh has a little give when you press on them with your thumb. Place in your refrigerator after ripening until you consume them.