About 88% of pears in the U.S. are grown in Washington and Oregon. They grow best in this region due to its volcanic soil, clean mountain water, warm spring days, and cool nights. They are in season and at their best from August-November, but are available most of the year.
While you may be most familiar with Bartletts and Boscs, there are more than 5,000 different varieties grown around the globe. Other top varieties include Anjou, Comice, Starkrimson, and Asian, which is also known as an apple pear.
Pears rank higher than almost any fruit when it comes to dietary fiber, with six grams or 21% of the daily value in just one pear. For the value of fiber, look no further than your gastrointestinal tract and the helpful bacteria that live there. Fiber helps maintain balance, regularity, and reduces the risk of colorectal cancer. Dietary fiber also slows digestion in the upper gastrointestinal tract, leaving one feeling fuller longer, and slows absorption of sugars, reducing sugar spikes and cravings. Soluble fiber in pears also serves as a prebiotic, feeding the good bacteria in your gut.
Antioxidants can help to decrease inflammation in the body. Chronic inflammation increases the risk for chronic disease like diabetes and heart disease. Regularly eating fruits like pears can help decrease the risk of chronic disease.
Pears ripen best off the tree, from the inside out. They may be hard, green, and unripe when bought fresh, but when pressing the stem area gives to pressure, it is ripe and ready to eat. Use pears to make delicious crisps, tarts, pies, cobblers, puddings, sauces, dried leathers, jams, and butters.
Sources: gleanersnutritionhub.org/blog/national-pear-month: usapears.org/articles/everything-there-is-to-know-about-pear-nutrition; agmrc.org/commodities-products/fruits/pears
Recipe – Pear Cream
1 cup cashews or Brazil nuts
1-2 tsp. vanilla flavoring
2 15-oz. cans unsweetened pears in own juice or 3 large pears, steamed with 1 cup water until soft
Pinch of salt
Blend all ingredients until smooth. Pour over waffles, pancakes, granola, cooked cereal, etc.