Sliced Pears

Pick the Perfect Pear: Tips for Selecting and Storing Fresh Pears

It simply doesn’t get any better than our selection of Rushing Rivers Pears from our friends at Stemilt World Famous Fruit in Washington State. These juicy, crisp and irresistible pears are delivered fresh from the orchards to your plate.

Here are a few tips for selecting, storing and enjoying fresh pears:

Ripening and Storage:

pears in bowlSome varieties but not all pears change color as they ripen and therefore many do not display outward signs of ripeness. Because of this it’s important to know the signs, and where to look for those signs, that your pears are ripe and ready-to-enjoy.

To determine how ripe your pears are, hold the pear in the palm of your hand and then gently apply pressure into the neck of the pear with your thumb.

  • Once the skin of the pear gives to that pressure (even if it gives slightly), it is ripe and ready to eat.
  • If your pears are still very firm when gentle pressure is applied to the neck of the fruit, they may need a bit of ripening to bring out the best possible taste.

Ripening

Simply leaving the fruit out on the kitchen counter at room temperature will allow the fruit to ripen over 1-3 days.

To speed up ripening, placing your pears in a brown paper bag and gently creasing the opening of the bag will speed ripening by trapping natural ethylene gas inside the bag and speeding the ripening process.

Another method of ripening pears is to store them at room temperature near or even in a bowl with other fruits like apples, bananas or avocados. As these other fruits ripen, they naturally release small amounts of ethylene gas that speeds the ripening process of your pears.

Storage

Once your pears have achieved the perfect ripeness, to maximize freshness and extend the life of the fruit, the best place to store ripe pears is in the refrigerator (crisper drawer if it’s free) between 35 to 45 degrees.

Placing pears in the refrigerator before they’re ripe will slow or even stop the ripening process, so wait until they’re the perfect ripeness for you then eat them right away or store them in the fridge for a few days.

Freezing

Slicing and freezing is a great way to store pears and enjoy them all year long. Follow these simple steps and you’ll have pears for snacking, smoothies and salads throughout the year.

First, wash, peel and core your fresh, ripe pears. Then, using a sharp knife, gently slice the pears into slices of desired thickness. Quickly dip or brush the slices in a light water and lemon juice mixture to prevent the fruit from browning. Place the pears in a single layer, being sure that they’re not touching, on a wax paper lined cookie sheet and place in the freezer until solid about 2-4 hours. Remove the cookie sheet from the freezer and pack the pear slices into freezer bags or tightly sealing, freezer safe containers.

Thaw pears as needed for smoothies, salads or snacking for up to 6 months.

An Easy Appetizer:


Pear Crostini with Crispy Prosciutto, Walnuts and Feta

Pear-Crostini_Blog-InteriorStart to finish: 30 minutes
Hands on time: 30 minutes

Pears, ham, walnuts and cheese are a classic flavor combo that just so happens to pear (pun intended) deliciously with chilled rosé. I love using offbeat ingredients for crostini-like base appetizers and who can argue that pear is lots more flavorful than a slice of bread. Plus, it’s gluten-free providing a tasty alternative for your guests with dietary restrictions or those who just crave something delish.

It’s that easy: To keep the topping from rolling off, cut the pear wedges so that they lay as flat as possible. Sprinkle with the toppings and apply the drizzle of honey which holds all the little pieces together. Another trick might be to serve these with those little wooden appetizer forks for an easy pick-up and pop in the mouth.

Makes about 16 pieces

Ingredients:

1 ripe pear
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts
3 slices prosciutto, finely chopped
2 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
2 tablespoons honey (best out of a squeeze bottle for easy drizzling)

Preparation:

Core the pear and slice it thinly into about 16 wedges. Arrange the pear slices on a sheet pan and brush them with the lemon juice to keep them from browning.

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat and add the prosciutto. Cook until crispy, about 3 minutes.  Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate. Add the nuts to the oil remaining in the pan and toast the nuts for another 2 minutes or until lightly browned and toasty. Transfer them to another paper towel lined plate and cool.

Sprinkle the prosciutto over the pears and top with a sprinkle of goat cheese, nuts and a drizzle of honey. Arrange on a platter and serve immediately or refrigerate for up to 2 hours. Allow to warm slightly before serving.

Prosciutto and walnuts can be prepared up to 4 hours ahead and kept at room temperature.

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