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Pears: Hosui (Nashi) »« Pears: Beurre Bosc

Pears Doyenne du Comice

Pyrus communis


Sweet and juicy, with none of the acidity of apples, pears are delicious for sunny, cool autumn lunchtimes, or nippy evenings.

Typically round with an elongated top half, ripe pears have a soft, buttery, grainy flesh, though this varies depending on the variety. There are thousands of varieties of pears, each with different skin, texture, and keeping qualities.

The Doyenne du Comice is a short, squat pear, with a less-pronounced neck than other varieties. Usually green in colour, often with a red blush, it has silky, delicate, very sweet flesh and a lot of juice.

Pears are a good source of vitamins C and K, copper, and fibre.

Pears are quite perishable, so are often sold unripe. To check the ripeness of a pear, gently press down by the stalk; on a ripe pear it will give slightly. Comice pears have very thin skin that’s easily damaged, so surface bruising doesn’t necessarily indicate that the flesh underneath is damaged. Check it carefully to ascertain whether or not the damage is more than superficial.

To ripen a pear, just leave it at room temperature for a few days. Once they’re fully ripe, they’re best eaten quickly, but will keep in the fridge for a few days. Pears have a tendency to take on other smells, so be careful to store them away from any strong-smelling foods.



The history of pears extends about as far as historians have ever gone, with evidence of their consumption going back to prehistory.

Pears, along with apples, pomegranates, and olives, are mentioned in the Ancient Greek writer Homer’s Odyssey, and the Roman natural historian Pliny talks of three dozen varieties of pear, which he recommends stewing with honey.

Pears were introduced to New Zealand by the missionary Samuel Marsden in 1819, with one pear tree from his original planting still growing in Kerikeri.

The Doyenne du Comice itself originated near Angers in France in 1849.


Pears are fantastic on a cheeseboard, with their sweet juiciness going well with the creamy savouriness of cheese.

They also substitute well for apples in a crumble, or can be poached in juice or wine.

A healthy and interesting salad is watercress, pear and walnut salad, dressed with salt and pepper, lemon juice, olive oil, and topped with shaved parmesan cheese.


Pear flesh is grittier than that of apples because the flesh contains stone cells, which are essentially miniature versions of the stones found in stonefruit, such as peaches.

Pears cause few allergic reactions, which is why they’re often recommended as a good introductory fruit for infants.

Pears: Hosui (Nashi) »« Pears: Beurre Bosc


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