With their delicate, pleasantly sweet taste pears are one of the most beloved fruits in the world in many cultures. Read up on everything you need to know about this delicious and versatile fruit below.
- ...provide B vitamins. Pears contain several vitamins from the B family, most notably vitamin B2. Riboflavin, a substance which plays an important role in the metabolism and is also said to help with migraines, is also present in pears.
- ...can help relieve joint pain. Naturopaths have utilized pears to treat pain associated with rheumatism and gout for years. This effect is only achieved when pears are briefly cooked in water. This preparation technique releases enzymes in pairs that conduct uric acid out of the body and thus lead to pain relief.
- ...help detoxify your body. With 128 milligrams of potassium per 100 grams, pears can help drain excess water from the body, making them a great fruit for those trying to lose weight.
- …are good for diabetics. Studies have shown that some varieties of pears can improve blood sugar levels in diabetics. Pears are also said to help reduce the necessary insulin dose.
- ...are particularly easy to digest. Pears contain very little fruit acid, which makes them a great choice for babies and those with a sensitive stomach.
- ...can help make you mentally fit. It’s an old wives tale that pears plus walnuts make great brain food, but there might be something to the theory after all. The combination of silica, phosphoric acid and copper present in pears can actually support thinking and memory.
- ...should only be eaten when ripe. Unripe pears not only have less taste and fewer valuable ingredients to offer, they are also difficult to digest and can cause stomach aches and gas.
What You Should Know About Pears
Pears were already being widely consumed around 3,000 BC, and still today are one of the most popular types of fruits. Pears are mainly grown in Asian countries as well as Italy, Spain and France. Best harvesting times vary around the world, which means that pears can be imported and enjoyed fresh and ripe yearround.
There are about 2,500 varieties of pears worldwide. They are divided into summer, autumn and winter pear, and as a subgroup we distinguish table pears (perfect for eating raw), cooking pears and cider pears. One of the best-selling table pears is the bottle-shaped, brownish or yellow Abate Fetel, which has a very juicy and firm flesh, and the roundish Williams Christ with a yellow-green skin. This variety tastes particularly sweet when ripe.
The top cultivator of pears is China, which supplies about 40% of the total world harvest. However, the original home of the pear is in Anatolia and the Caucasus.
How Healthy Are Pears?
There are many reasons to eat pears. Although they’re incredibly sweet and delicious they’re relatively low in calories and fat, making them a great sweet choice for the figure-conscious. Pears are a great source of fiber and potassium as well and easy digestible, which means they can be enjoyed by those with sensitive stomachs.
|Pear Nutritional Info (100 g)|
Shopping and Cooking Tips
When shopping for pears, pick fruits that have smooth and undamaged skin. Note that the brown, rough spots around the base of the stalk can be ignored, as they won’t affect taste or texture.
If you’re looking to eat your pear raw or in a fruit salad, it’s best to utilize one of the table pear varieties, and ensure they are ripe. If you’ll be cooking your pear, small and slightly unripe pears are best, as they’ll retain their shape even when cooked.
If you’ve purchased ripe pears, you should keep them at room temperature and wait no longer than 1-2 days to eat them. Unripe pears should also ripen at room temperature, not in the refrigerator.
Cleaning pears for cooking or eating is easy. Simply rinse, dry and quarter the pear, cutting out the core and stem base.
What To Make With Pears
Sweet pears are perfect in fruit salads and with desserts, but also delicious when paired with cheese or in a savory salad. Ripe and soft pears are perfect for making smoothies or homemade baby food. Pears also make a wonderful topping for a tart or cake and tarts.