Produce Spotlight on Pears
Pears are a refreshing, sweet, and low-calorie treat with just 40 calories per serving. They are loaded with vitamin C and other important nutrients to keep our immune system strong. They are also a good source of fiber. Pears are available in New England from late summer into the fall.
Shopping for Pears
When shopping, look for firm pears without cuts or bruises. Bartlett pears will feel softer than other types. Handle carefully as pears bruise easily. To check for ripeness, press your thumb toward the top of the pear near the stem. This area softens as pears ripen. Canned pears are a low-cost option when purchasing out of season. Choose pears canned in water or 100% juice; avoid pears “canned in syrup,” which has added sugar and provides extra calories.
Bartlett – typical “pear” shape; usually red or light green in color; soft, juicy, and very sweet.
Bosc – skinnier pear shape; brown and green tones; firm texture, crisp, and sweet.
Asian – round, apple-like; green, yellow, or reddish-brown with spots; crisp, taste varies from sweet to tart.
Storage and Preparation
- To ripen, store at room temperature for three to five days. Place pears in a brown paper bag to speed up the ripening process.
- Store ripe pears in the refrigerator and use within five to seven days.
- Always rinse pears under cold running water before eating.
- To freeze, wash, peel, and core ripe pears. Slice and brush with lemon juice to prevent browning. Place in a single layer on a baking pan and place in the freezer. When firm, transfer to a freezer bag. Label and date. For the best quailty, use within six months.
- Add sliced pears to baked goods such as muffins, cobblers, or cakes.
- Make a summer salsa with diced pears or top a green salad for a slight sweetness.
- Try a ginger pear smoothie. Add spinach, milk, pears, fresh ginger, banana, cinnamon, vanilla extract, and ice. Blend and enjoy!
One pound of pears =
3 medium pears or 2 cups sliced pears and provides 3 to 4 servings.
Using Locally Grown Produce
For recipes featuring fruits and vegetables, visit our website https://extension.umass.edu/nutrition/recipes/. To locate places to buy local produce, visit https://www.mass.gov/orgs/massachusetts-grownand-fresher.