Friday, September 25, 2015

TIPS: Pears

What you may not know about pears...

A little known fact about the pear is that it is one of the few fruits that does not ripen on the tree.  The pear is harvested when it is mature, but not yet ripe, and, if left at room temperature, it slowly reaches a sweet and succulent maturity as it ripens from the inside out.  Therefore, a little bit of patience and know-how will ensure the pear reaches its peak flavor.

Here’s what you need to do to ripen your pears:

• Leave firm, unripe pears at room temperature so that they can ripen.
• Check the neck for ripeness daily, by applying gentle pressure to the neck, or stem end, of the pear with your thumb. If it yields to pressure, then it’s ripe and ready to eat!
• Once the pear is ripe, it can be refrigerated to slow the ripening process and saved for use up to five days later.  But remember: don't refrigerate an unripe pear!

To Prevent Browning:

Like many fruits, the flesh of cut or peeled pears will eventually brown. This natural oxidation process won’t affect the taste or quality. However, to keep your pears looking appetizing and to prevent browning, dip them in a mild solution of 50% water and 50% lemon juice.

How To Freeze Pears:

Freezing helps you enjoy your favorite pear varieties all year long. Here are two ways to freeze pears:
• First, wash, peel, and core each pear. Make sure the pears you use are ripe, but not overripe.
• Next, cut the pear into even, thin slices. The number of slices will vary depending on the size of the fruit.
• Brush the slices with a lemon juice and water mixture. This prevents the fruit from browning.
• Then, choose your freezing method: syrup pack, dry pack, or your own method.
• Syrup Pack: Mix 2 cups of sugar in 3 cups of cold water in pot and bring to a boil. Once the sugar dissolves, place pear slices in the boiling syrup for 1 to 2 minutes. Drain and cool. Pack the pears into freezer safe bags. Remove excess air. Freeze. These slices will remain good for 6 or more months.
• Dry Pack: Place the pear slices in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Freeze until solid. Remove and pack into freezer safe bags. 

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