We’re beginning to pass back into pear season here in the northwest, and this is really exciting for us at Pacific Coast Harvest. Pears a great fruit to have in the fall- they are sweet and nutritious, a good balance for winter crops like kale and potatoes, and have a long shelf life. We’re fortunate enough to live in the most productive regions in the United States for growing pears. According to the Agricultural Marketing Resource Center, a USDA-funded information center, Washington and Oregon together grow about 75 percent of the whole US crop. This makes pears relatively cheap and available here, and we are the better for it. Most of our pears at Pacific Coast Harvest come from the European pear cultivars, which include Bosc, Bartlett, and D’Anjou. These are the most common varieties in this part of the world, though there are also Nashi (or Asian) pears and the Chinese white pear.
This image compares several different common types of European pear:from left to right- Bartlett, Red Bartlett, Star Krimson, D’Anjou, Bosc, Comice, Concorde, and Seckel.
There are many great ways to use besides eating them fresh. They make great ingredients in grilled panini with brie, chutney, and pie. You can even simmer them in red wine to make a spiced wine pear! Of course, they are also great fresh on salads, with cheese, or just in plain slices. Pear is also a fantastic fruit for making cider- pear ciders tend to be tart, crisp and very flavorful.
Stay tuned for an original pear recipe sometime soon on this blog. Let us know which is your favorite type!