What a Pear?
By Mark Mulcahy
“It is, in my view, the duty of an apple to be crisp and crunchable, but a pear should have such a texture as leads to silent consumption.” – Edward Bunyard, ‘The Anatomy of Dessert’
Don’t you just love the start of pear season? I do, because it reminds me that fall is on its way with cooler nights and crisp, clear days. I also love it because it is a time that offers one of my many favorite pears. And I must not be alone because it’s the most commonly grown variety of pear in most countries outside Asia. I am speaking of the Bartlett pear which is unique in that its skin color brightens and changes color as it ripens, while most winter pears show very little color change as they ripen. Bartletts are often eaten raw, in salads but can also be firm enough to hold their shape when baked. If you like poached pears, Bartletts are a great choice for this warm, deliciously tender treat.
I’m often asked, “What is the best way to eat them?” Well, it depends on how you like your pears. If you like them crunchy and a little bit tart? Then you’ll want to eat them when the skin is slightly green! This is not my first choice but heck – we all like what we like, right? How about firm yet moist, and just mildly sweet? Then choose one that is more yellow with a slight green tinge. Finally, there is my favorite, which is slightly firm but creamy and wonderfully juicy. For this experience you’ll want your pear to be fully ripe with a rich yellow-gold color and an intoxicating sweet aroma. And oh, what an aroma it is! Take a whiff and you’ll change your mood, as you can’t be mad when you smell something so erotically beautiful as this ripe pear.
Lastly, remember that all pears ripen best at room temperature. If your house is very warm then find a cool, dark spot to let them ripen slowly - just don’t forget where you put them! Once they are ripe, handle with care as this pear bruises easily. Enjoy the bite, enjoy the scent, and revel in the changing season.
Wanna change the mood in your home or your perspective on a day? Try baking organic Bartlett pears! The scent of pears and cinnamon baking in the oven will surely lighten any mood or room.
Place 2 firm ripe halved and cored Melissa’s organic Bartlett’s in a baking dish with 1/2” of organic apple juice and 2 teaspoons of cinnamon.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes or until the pear can be easily pierced with a fork.
While baking the pears, crush about a half-cup of pecans and put aside. On the stove, simmer 1/4 cup Melissa’s dried cranberries and a 2” piece of organic grated ginger in 1 cup of the organic apple juice mixture. When the pears are finished baking pull from the oven to cool slightly, place a pint of your favorite vanilla ice cream or coconut dessert product in the center of a platter and surround with the crushed pecans. Cut the warm pears in half and stand them on the circle of pecans against the ice cream tower. Now pour the warm gingered cranberries and apple juice around the centerpiece and serve. Oh, my goodness now dive in! This is one dessert that is wonderful for all the senses and it’s as easy to make as it is delicious.