Fresh Juicy Pears
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Fall is the time to welcome juicy, sweet pears to your farm markets, and turn this healthy fruit in hot crisps, flakey pies, and hearty salads. Generally, pears are in season in Eastern North
Carolina from about August to October. If you have a pear tree in your yard or on your farm, cherish it. The weight of the fruit combined with the strong winds brought in by hurricanes and other storms, can really do some damage pear trees, especially aging ones.
Fun fact, pears are one of the few fruits that do not actually ripen on the tree, if left too long on the tree the texture becomes mushy and grainy, very undesirable. It is best to choose pears that are slightly firm, check by using your thumb to gently apply pressure around the neck of the pear, if it yields when gently pressed then the pear should be ripe and juicy, if not it definitely needs more time on the tree.
Store ripe pears in the refrigerator for three to five days, and store firm unripe pears at room temperature until they ripen.
Pears are well known for their health benefits, some of which include;
– Pears have antioxidant functions, antioxidants fight against risk of cancer, heart disease and more.
– Pears are a great source of dietary fiber, dietary fiber can reduce your risk of gut-related conditions, such as diverticular disease and gastroesophageal reflux (GERD).
– Pears have antidiabetic benefits; they can assist in slowing the absorption of glucose or sugar into the bloodstream.
– Pears have anti-inflammatory benefits, lowering inflammation can also lower your risk of heart disease or autoimmune disease.
– Pears can lower the concentrations of lipids or fats in your blood, including cholesterol.
This helps lower the risk of coronary heart disease, stroke and high blood pressure.
Fresh ripe pears are delicious when eaten raw, but can also add a juicy sweetness to salads, desserts, sides, meats, and cocktails. Here are some fun ways to use pears.
Simple Baked Pears with Cinnamon and Honey
4 medium pears
3 tablespoons local honey
2 tablespoons butter
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Peel the pears with a vegetable peeler. Cut the ends off and then
cut the pears in half.
Gently scoop out the core.
Place pears face down on a 9 x 13 inch glass baking dish.
In a small bowl, combine the honey, cinnamon, butter and vanilla extract and heat in the microwave for 30 seconds. Stir to combine well.
Spoon ½ to ¾ of the sauce over the pears.
Bake for 30 minutes until soft and turning brown Remove from the oven and let sit for 5 minutes.
Spoon additional sauce over each pear before serving.
Serves 4, each serving contains; Calories 211, Carbohydrates 40g., Fat 7g., Sodium 2 mg., Fiber
5g., Sugar 30g.
Asian-inspired Pear Slaw
(Super fun side dish for many roasted meats)
1 ½ cups shredded cabbage
1 fresh pear, julienned
¼ red onion, thinly sliced
½ cup carrots, cut into matchsticks
¼ cup radish, thinly sliced
1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
1 ½ teaspoon fish sauce
1 ½ teaspoon rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil
Juice of 1 lime
Sea salt and black pepper
Optional topping; sesame seeds
Prepare slaw ingredients.
In a large bowl, combine all vegetables.
In a smaller bowl, whisk together dressing ingredients, fish sauce, rice wine vinegar, sugar, oil, lime juice, salt and pepper. Pour over vegetables and toss to evenly distribute.
Refrigerate until use. Yields 4 servings.
Colorful Pear Salad with Fig Balsamic Vinaigrette
For the fig balsamic vinaigrette
2 tablespoons fig balsamic vinegar, or a high quality balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
¾ teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons toasted walnut oil
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
3 pinches of sea salt
Freshly ground pepper
For the salad
1 head of radicchio
2 ½ ounces mixed baby greens
2 fresh pears, cored, quartered and sliced into ½-inch chunks
¾ cup toasted walnuts, chopped
½ cup fresh pomegranate arils
3 ounces gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
For the Dressing:
In a small bowl, whisk together the balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, and Dijon mustard. Slowly pour in the walnut oil, followed by the olive oil, whisking continuously with your other hand, until the mixture is emulsified. Smash the garlic clove with a side of a knife and add it to the vinaigrette to infuse while you prepare the salad. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
For the salad:
Slice the radicchio in half, remove the core, and slice the radicchio perpendicularly into ¾-inch-
thick ribbons. Combine the radicchio and mixed greens in a large salad bowl. Add the pear chunks, walnuts, and pomegranate arils.
Discard the smashed garlic clove, then slowly add the vinaigrette to lightly coat the greens, and gently toss. Top the salad with the crumbled gorgonzola cheese and serve immediately.
Serves 4, each serving contains; Calories 275, Carbohydrates 17g., Protein 6g., Fat 22g., Sodium
251mg., Fiber 17g., Sugar 10g.
Quick Pear Bread
1 ½ cup flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
½ cup canola oil
½ cup white sugar
½ cup brown sugar
1 cup peeled, shredded pears
1 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.
In a large bowl, mix your dry ingredients. (Flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and
In another bowl, stir together the remaining ingredients.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Stir just until combined.
Transfer into a greased 8 inch loaf pan. Bake for about one hour until golden brown.
Cool before removing.
Sweet and Spicy Fresh Pear Salsa
9 cups tomato, peeled and chopped (I tend to leave on the peeling because that is where the most
6 cups pears, peeled and chopped
2 cups onions, chopped
3 green peppers, chopped
1 tablespoon jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped, less or more depending on desired heat
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup sugar
½ cup vinegar
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Dash of hot sauce to taste
Add all ingredients to a large pot
Bring to a rapid boil, reduce heat to medium high and continue to boil for 20 mins.
Reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 1 hour until pears have softened, but still maintain their shape. Allow to cool and serve.
Roasted Pork Loin with Pear Chutney
For the pork;
1 ½ pound pork loin
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
Fresh Cilantro for garnish
For the Pear Chutney;
1 tablespoon butter
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
3 pears, peeled, cored, and diced
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons local honey, or brown sugar
1 cinnamon stick
1/3 cup dried cherries
Pinch of salt and pepper
For the chutney, combine all ingredients in a medium pot over medium-low heat. Bring to a slight simmer and simmer for 6-7 minutes until pears soften, but don’t turn completely to mush.
Remove from heat. Serve at room temperature or slightly warmed.
For pork loin, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Season pork loin on all sides with salt and pepper.
In an oven-safe cast iron skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Sear pork loin on all sides for 2- 3 minutes until browned.
Transfer pork to the oven and roast until the pork reaches an internal temperature of 140 degrees F. in the thickest part, depending on the thickness of your pork loin this will take anywhere from 10-20 minutes. Use a meat thermometer!
When pork comes out of the oven, let it rest for a few minutes. Then slice and serve piled high with pear chutney and fresh cilantro.
Serves 6, each serving contains; Calories 282, Carbohydrates 24g., Protein 26g., Fat 9g., Sodium 462mg., Fiber 4g., Sugar 16g.