Pears have been grown in Britain since the 12th century, and their mildly sweet flavour makes them a popular choice today too. When choosing pears pick fruit that are not quite ripe - ripe pears damage very easily. There is a wide choice of varieties, which can be found throughout the year:
has a russet skin, is long, thin and medium-sized and has sweet juicy firm yellow flesh. It has a coarse, rather gritty texture.
William's Bon Chretien
has a creamy white tender flesh with a very juicy sweet flavour.
is native to Portugal and is a firm, juicy variety with a distinctive sweet flavour.
Dried pears and canned pears in syrup are also available.
Uses: Eat pears as they are or bake, stew or poach. They can be puréed and used in yogurts, ice creams and sauces. They go particularly well with spices, nuts, vanilla and chocolate and can be combined with any of these ingredients to make tasty puddings. Dried pears can be eaten as they are or included in recipes for cakes, bakes and puddings. Canned pears can be served with ice cream and chocolate sauce, they are also delicious served drizzled with ginger syrup or included in bakes and cakes.
To store: Store at room temperature until ripe and then in the fridge for 2-3 days. Store dried pears in a cool, dry place. Once opened reseal the pack and store in the fridge for up to 7 days.
To prepare: Wash or peel the fruit before use, remove the core if wished. Brush any cut surfaces with a little lemon juice, if you're not using the fruit immediately.