There are many common varieties of pear to choose from in Australia, readily available throughout the year. These include Josephine, Williams, Packham’s Triumph, Beurre Bosc and Nashi pears. Josephine pears have light green skin with a yellowy-coloured flesh, while Williams, also known as Bartlett pears, have a yellowish skin when ripe and a white flesh. Their higher sugar content means they tend to be used in desserts. Packham’s Triumph pears have a light yellow skin with white, juicy flesh. Beurre Bosc pears have a long neck and green-brown skin, which can feel slightly rough to touch. Nashi pears are round and light yellowy-green when ripe.
Choose pears that are unblemished and firm. Look for ones that are brightly coloured and fragrant, and avoid any with bruises or soft spots.
Allow pears to ripen for 3–5 days at room temperature. Once ripe they can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
Pears can be eaten raw, with or without the skin. They make a great lunchbox snack or can be baked or poached to make naturally sweet desserts.
4 quick ways with pears
For a tasty salad, combine sliced pears with halved strawberries, reduced-fat goat’s cheese, chopped walnuts and mixed salad leaves. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar before serving.
For a healthier fruit crumble, slice 2 pears and layer in a flan pan. Cover pears with a crumble topping made of 1 cup rolled oats, 1/2 cup plain flour, 4 tablespoons each reduced-fat table spread and brown sugar, and sprinkle with 20g chopped dark chocolate. Bake in a 200ºC oven for 30 minutes, until pears are soft and the topping crunchy.
Grate two pears into your pancake or muffin batter for an easy way to get an extra serve of fruit. You can also add finely chopped pears into your favourite banana bread recipe for an extra serve of fruit and a boost of flavour. Keep the skin on for extra fibre.
Roasted pears make a delicious side dish to various pork recipes. Try this yummy pear side: Combine sliced pear, chopped pumpkin and onion in a large roasting pan. Spray with oil and season. Cook at 220ºC for 20 minutes, or until just tender.
Did you know? Pears are high in fibre and low-GI, with a GI of 42.