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Pears: Doyenne du Comice »« Peaches

Pears Beurre Bosc

Pyrus communis


Description

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.

Buerre Bosc pears are a warm, fawny brown colour, with an elegantly stretched top. The flesh is tender, yet firmer than that of a Doyenne du Comice, and dense, intensely-flavoured, and juicy. Bosc pears are known for the russeting on their skin, where the colour appears patchy. This is completely normal and isn’t considered a problem; in fact, many believe it indicates better flavour.

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. Bosc pears, however, give a little less than other pears when ripe.

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.

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History

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 Buerre Bosc was discovered in the early 19th century, and is of either French or Belgian origin. The name comes from the then-conventional naming system, where the first word denotes a characteristic (‘butter’), and the second word refers to its origin or propagator (M. Bosc, the director of the Paris Botanical Gardens).

Uses

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.

Facts

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: Doyenne du Comice »« Peaches

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