Gin­ger­bread and hol­i­day spices are warm­ing from the inside out. Take com­fort and joy to the next level by includ­ing pears in those fes­tive prepa­ra­tions.

Maybe the best part of pears this time of year is their acci­den­tal orna­men­tal nature. The sen­su­ous shapes and var­i­ous sizes and skin col­ors sug­gest end­less culi­nary pos­si­bil­i­ties. They pro­vide a fresh fruit com­po­nent in baked goods, sal­ads and entrees, while all at once insert high drama and art on the plate.

Pears are very ver­sa­tile. In addi­tion to being served raw in almost any­thing, pears bake, poach, sauté, roast and grill very nicely. They can be made into pre­serves, jams and chut­neys which can be a sea­sonal boost to pan­cakes, waf­fles and toast.

Whole, sliced, chopped or chun­ked, pears offer great fla­vor in addi­tion to tex­ture and visual inter­est to many recipes.

Firmer vari­eties like Bosc, Anjou, or Con­corde are best for heated appli­ca­tions— poach­ing, bak­ing and grilling. Because their flesh is denser, they hold their shape bet­ter. Their inher­ent fla­vor is not over­pow­ered by other cook­ing ingredients.

Pears that are not opti­mal for heated appli­ca­tions are Bartlett, Red Bartlett, Starkrim­son, and Comice. Fla­vor and tex­ture of these are at their peak when ripe and fresh. They may soften too much when heated and fla­vor dimin­ished.

What­ever vari­ety selected, an impor­tant reminder is that pears don’t ripen on the tree. Allow pears to ripen at room tem­per­a­ture for the best fla­vor and tex­ture.

A good tip — check the neck. Gen­tly press the neck or stem end of the pear with your thumb. If it yields slightly, the pear is ready to eat or use in cook­ing. It is def­i­nitely worth the wait to get full fla­vor.

Under­rated and ele­gant, pears pair well with sophis­ti­cated part­ners. Think cheese plates, wal­nuts and pis­ta­chios, pome­gran­ate ails and all kinds of salad greens. A bed of endive or arugula lay the per­fect foun­da­tion to build bot­tom up to pears.

Spir­its (whisky, brandy and rum) along with spices (cin­na­mon, gin­ger and car­damom) kick up inter­est con­sid­er­ably. Vanilla bean, orange zest or salted caramel are knock out pear part­ners for stun­ning desserts.

Aro­matic and attrac­tive, culi­nary endeav­ors with pears in the spot­light evoke happy hol­i­day mem­o­ries. The par­tridge in a pear tree French carol sug­gests the ulti­mate in gift giv­ing.

Impress co-​workers fam­ily and friends with any kind of pear present. Dried, choco­late dipped or foil wrapped are unique treat­ments to an already splen­did fruit.

Noble in stature, savored for fla­vor, USA pears instill peace, love and hol­i­day cheer.

To read the full Mar­ket Report, includ­ing this week’s mar­ket update, see below or click here.
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