When I make a trip to the store or the farmers market, I am not usually one to experiment with different varieties of fruits that I haven’t tried before. For example, with pears, I know that I like the taste of the Bartlett pears (and maybe I’m a little biased because it’s my last name), so I purchase them every time. But when I was about to reach for my usual last week, I noticed there are so many other varieties to choose from and I was curious about what I was missing out on.
Pears can be found in tons of different colors: shades of green, red, yellow, gold and brown. I used to be afraid of purchasing the brown ones because I thought it was an indication that they were rotten, but it’s not true! In fact, many varieties fail to change color as they ripen, making it more difficult to determine ripeness.
Pears are super delicious and sort of taste like dessert (duh, because they’re sweet), but they’re really good for you too! Did you know that the skin of the pear contains twice the amount of the nutrients that the flesh does? These phytonutrients include antioxidant and anti-inflammatory flavonoids. They are also packed full of your daily fiber needs and well as copper, Vitamin C and Vitamin K (1).
Here’s a basic guide to the taste and texture of the most common varieties:
- Classic and most commonly available pear in the US.
- Usually yellow-green and speckled.
- Sweet, juicy and soft.
- Great for cooking & slicing in salads.
Red D’Anjou Pears:
- Rich, reddish maroon color.
- High in anthocyanin.
- Very sweet and can be eaten firm or soft.
- Great for a salad topper.
- Usually greenest variety.
- Sweet, smooth and juicy.
- Great for many uses: Salads, baking and poaching!
- Tall and skinny golden color.
- Flesh that is firm and dense.
- Sweet and crisp to taste.
- Great for baking and doesn’t need to be soft to be eaten.
- Cinnamon-Brown skin color.
- Sweet, honey-like flavor with a hint of spice.
- Firm and crisp!
- Great for poaching and baking.
By the way, winter is the perfect time to purchase your pears, as most of the varieties are in season! If you’re like me and have hesitation with trying new things, embrace that annoying song you’ve heard a million times by now and “LET IT GOOOO”! There’s so many delicious things we’re missing out on, it’s worth it!