Pears have graced dessert menus the world round since the beginning of recorded history.
Pears boast sweet, buttery flesh and an unparalleled juicy texture. There are over 6,000 named pears. Some of our favorite pears include the Bartlett, Bosc and Clapp varieties. The Bartlett pear is the most widely planted pear in the United States and well renown for its soft, sweet flavor. Originally from Europe where it is known as Williams Bon Chrétien or Williams, this pear is medium in size and most pear-like in shape. When ripe, its skin is golden yellow with hints of blush. The Bosc, or Beurre Bosc, has a more dense body that is rich and aromatic. Commonly used in baked goods, this pear is easily recognized for its bronze color and gracefully attenuated neck. The Clapp pear is an heirloom that was developed in Dorchester, MA in the mid 1800s. The story of the Clapp pear’s invention is so near and dear to the community that it is commemorated in the form of a 11.5 foot tall bronze statue in Edward Everett Square. A cross between the Flemish Beauty Pear and a Bartlett, this local favorite is one of the very first pears of the season to ripen. With golden green skin and hints of pineapple flavor, a Clapp pear will announce the season with gusto.
Pears are picked when mature but hard. They soften when kept at room temperature for 3-10 days depending on the variety. Placing hard pears in a paper bag will speed up the softening process. To increase their life, hard pears can be stored loose, in a single layer, in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Remove and soften as needed. Color does not indicate ripeness in a pear. To test for eatability, lightly press the neck of the fruit, if it gives ever so slightly it is ready to be enjoyed.