Sweet, succulent pears are perhaps the most glorious of fall fruits. Selecting them can be easy if you consider the following: avoid pears with bruises or cuts and dark brown colors; purchase pears while slightly green because they ripen better and faster off the tree; look for pears with a smooth unblemished skin; ripe ones will yield slightly to gentle pressure at the stem end. If you plan to bake pears, select those that are fairly firm.
There are several varieties of pair including Anjou, Bartlett, Bose, Comice, Forelle, and Seckel. These fruits have a sweet, rich flavor and come in a variety of colors including green, golden yellow and red. Among these varieties there are only subtle differences in flavor and texture.
Pears come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors from tiny Seckels to long-necked Boscs to colorful Red Bartletts. Check out their availability and use below.
|Green Anjou||October – June||Firm and green, even when ripe; this large, thin-skinned yellowish-green pear is best eaten fresh. When slightly under-ripe, it can be baked or poached, but once it ripens, its sweet, mellow flavor and abundant juice make it an excellent choice for salads and snacks.|
|Red Anjou||October – May||Much the same flavor, use and texture as the green Anjou. Red Anjous (generally dark, maroon red in color) show little to no change in color as they ripen, which is another characteristic shared with their Green Anjou counterparts. Red Anjous are recognizable for their near egg-shaped appearance.|
|Yellow Bartlett||August – December||One of the most common and popular pears, this large, bell-shaped all-purpose pear has a yellow skin sometimes blushed with pale red. It is very sweet, juicy, aromatic and perfect for salads, eating fresh, and excellent for canning or cooking. It holds its shape and flavor in baking and cooking.|
|Bosc||August – April||The Bosc has a firm, dense, yet tender flesh with brown skin that hides a deliciously, sweet and spicy flavor. Its dense flesh makes it ideal for baking and cooking. Color doesn't change as it ripens, excellent for baking. Its mild, not-too-sweet flavor is great for microwave recipes, salads, and snacks.|
|Comice||August – March||Is hard, green, and rounder than a Bartlett, but similar in flavor and texture. One of the largest, sweetest and juiciest varieties. Best used fresh in salads, served as an elegant dessert pear, or as an excellent accompaniment with cheese. This is the variety of pears sold at Harry & David.|
|Forelle||September – February||Slightly larger than a Seckel, with freckled skin and a red blush. For what they lack in size, Forelle pears make up in sweet flavor and beautiful appearance. They're an excellent snack or lunch-box pear…sweet, juicy, and crisp.|
|Seckel||August – February||Tiny pears with ultra-sweet flavor, so sweet in fact they are called "sugar pears." Maroon and olive green in color, with no color change when ripened. They are an excellent choice for children's snacks, pickling, or as a garnish.|