This month’s Produce of the Month is pears! While many people are familiar with the green Bartlett pears, there are estimated to be around 3,000 different varieties of pears that grow around the world. Pears like to grow in cool, temperate climate. They are planted around the United States, with most of them being grown in the pacific northwest. Other countries where pears are naturally found are Northern Europe and parts of Asia.
Bartlett pears have a sweet, slightly tart flavor. They start out green but will turn yellow when ripe. Bosc pears are crisp with a delicate flavor. Anjou pears have an intense flavor with a creamy texture. Pears ripen after being harvested from the tree, which means they are closest to ripe when you purchase them from the grocery store. If you want to slow down the ripening process, you can place them in the refrigerator. If you want to eat the pears sooner rather than later, place pears with other fruits like apples and bananas. These fruits naturally produce ethylene, which speeds up the ripening process.
Pears are not only delicious, but they can also contain many nutrients with health benefits. The most notable nutrients in pears include fiber and vitamin C. Fiber is found in plants and it helps your body maintain regular digestion patterns. Additionally, fiber can help regulate blood sugar levels by slowing down the absorption of the sugars into the blood. Fiber also decreases the risk for cardiovascular disease by forming gel like substance in the small intestine that binds to cholesterol, helping remove it from the body. Vitamin C is an essential vitamin that helps cells stay healthy by protecting them from free radicals and inflammation. This vitamin plays a part in the maintenance of healthy skin, blood vessels, bones, and cartilage.
Pears are usually eaten raw and by themselves, but they can also be combined with other foods. You can add pears to smoothies, salads, yogurt, and a variety of desserts. Include pears in your diet this month for a sweet yet nutritious way to add fiber and vitamin C. For some recipe ideas, check out the recipes section of our Produce of the Month page!
Stay safe, stay healthy!