Perfect Pear Pairings

 Happy National Pear Month! In celebration, Cristie Mathers with Pear Bureau Northwest dished up some perfect holiday pairings and shared which pear varieties would work best for each.

-The USDA has proclaimed December as National Pear Month, thanks to the tremendous variety and abundance of pears available this month
-Oregon and Washington produce 84% of the nation’s fresh pear crop
-Pears are the Official State Fruit of Oregon
-The Pacific Northwest is home to 10 main pear varieties, each with its own color, shape and texture:
                -Green Anjou (flavor profile: refreshingly sweet and juicy with a hint of citrus)
                -Red Anjou (flavor profile: juicy and fresh with a sweet-tart finish)
                -Bartlett (flavor profile: quintessential pear flavor and aroma with abundant juice)
-Red Bartlett (flavor profile: juicy and aromatic with a supple sweetness)
                -Bosc (flavor profile: crisp and woodsy with a honey sweetness)
                -Comice (flavor profile: succulent, buttery/custardy flesh and exceptionally sweet)
                -Concorde (flavor profile: crunchy and earthy with a hint of vanilla)
                -Starkrimson (flavor profile: aromatic, moist and sweet with a floral essence)
                -Seckel (flavor profile: bite-sized, crunchy and ultra-sweet)
                -Forelle (flavor profile: crisp, tangy and refreshingly sweet)
-A little known-fact about pears is that they don’t ripen on the tree. They’re harvested when mature, but not quite ripe, so they may need a little coaxing to reach their perfect point of ripeness.
-A recent survey showed that only 16% of pear shoppers know how to tell when a pear is ripe, so we’ve been crisscrossing the country this season on The Time is Ripe for Pears Tour to educate shoppers. The simple trick: “Check the Neck!” Press your thumb on the narrow, or neck, end of the pear. If it yields to gentle pressure, it’s ripe and ready. If it’s still firmer than you’d prefer, leave it at room temperature for a day or so, and the pear will continue to slowly ripen.
-Pears are an excellent source of fiber (24% of your daily value) and a good source of vitamin C (10% of your dairy value), and only 100 calories per medium sized pear
-For more pear information, ripening tips, nutrition and great recipes from chefs around the country, visit USAPears.org.

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