Pears Are Diverse Fruit, Have Historic Roots
By Pamela Redwine
Pears are one of the world’s oldest cultivated and beloved fruits. Thanks to their versatility and long storage life, pears were a valuable and much-desired commodity among the trading routes of the ancient world. Evident in the works of Renaissance Masters, pears have long been an elegant still-life muse for artists. In the 17th century a great flourishing of modern pear variety cultivation began taking place in Europe. And in popular culture, the pear tree was immortalized alongside a partridge in the 18th century Christmas carol, the Twelve Days of Christmas.
Due to the rich history of pears and its positive impact on Oregon’s economy, the State of Oregon named the pear Oregon’s official state fruit. In addition, the USDA annually recognized the pear declaring the month of December as National Pear Month.
Pears provide wonderful holiday centerpieces. If you would like to construct a center piece using pears you will need: 12 pears, preferably different colors (example – Comice, Bosc, Red Bartlett), 1 cup dried cranberries, Large clear decorative bowl or vase. Place half the cranberries on the bottom of the bowl or vase. Layer pears on top in a decorative pattern. Sprinkle remaining cranberries in the last layer. Keep chilled until ready to use.
Pears have been recognized as one of the 20 most popular fruits by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and it’s no wonder why! They are an excellent source of fiber and a good source of vitamin A and C for only 100 calories per serving. And, they’re sodium free, fat free, and cholesterol free. That’s a lot of nutrition in one sweet, juicy package. When eating pears make sure you eat the skin of the fruit, as most of the vitamin C, as well as, the dietary fiber is found there.
Pears are less allergenic than many other fruits, and pear juice is therefore sometimes used as the first juice introduced to infants, but juice for infants is not recommended by some pediatricians.
Pears are consumed fresh, canned, as juice, and dried. The juice can also be used in jellies and jams, usually in combination with other fruits or berries. Fermented pear juice is called perry or pear cider.
Pears will ripen faster if placed next to bananas in a fruit bowl. They stay fresh longer if kept in a fridge.
Article Sources: www.foodandhealth.com www.usapears.com USDA: Nutritive Value of Foods
Recipe of the Week
Fall Pear Salad
8 cups mixed greens, washed
2 sliced Red Bartlett pears
1/4 cup sliced dried figs
1/4 cup mixed dried fruit; golden raisins, blueberries, cranberries
2 tablespoons toasted walnut pieces
Balsamic vinegar to taste
Place the greens in a large bowl and top with pears, figs, dried fruit and walnut pieces. Serve vinegar on the side.
Recipe Source: www.foodandhealth.com