Selecting, Storing, and Serving Ohio Pears

HYG-5526
Family and Consumer Sciences
Date: 
07/30/2021
Revised 2021: Abigail Snyder, Food Safety Field Specialist, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension
Revised 2010: Julie Kennel Shertzer, Program Specialist, Human Nutrition
Original author: Barbara H. Drake, Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension

Though there are thousands of varieties of pears, only about ten are grown and sold commercially. 

For information on pear varieties in Ohio, contact your county educator in agriculture and natural resources at Ohio State University Extension, or a master gardener volunteer.

Selection

  • A pear should feel firm when purchased and gradually becomes less firm as it ripens. Overhead view of a pile of mostly green Bartlett pears, with a few that have a reddish tinge.
  • Select pears that are free from bruises or injury to the skin.
  • Color is the best indicator of ripeness. For example, the Bartlett pear is green when unripe and yellow when ripe. Research the color the indicates ripeness based on the variety.
  • Some pear varieties, such as the Bosc and Concorde, do not change color. For these varieties, use the Check-the-Neck test, where gentle thumb pressure is applied near the stem end. The pear is ripe when the fruit gives slightly.
Ohio Pear Varieties Taste Color Change with Ripening Culinary Use
      Raw In Salads Baking Canning
Green Anjou Mild, firm, sweet Does not change color X X X X
Red Anjou Mild, firm, sweet Does not change color X X X X
Asian Crunchy Crunchy, crisp Becomes more yellow X X    
Bartlett Juicy, sweet Green to yellow X X   X
Red Bartlett Sweet, juicy Dark red to bright red X X   X
Bosc Crunchy, tender Does not change color X   X  
Concorde Sweet, firm Does not change color X X X X
Harrow Sweet, juicy Yellow to yellow with red blush X X    
Kieffer Hard Yellow to golden yellow with red blush     X X
Seckel Sweet, small Does not change color X     X (can whole)
Starkrimson Mild, sweet Deep crimson to bright crimson X X    

Yield

Due to many variables such as moisture content, size, and variety, it is difficult to give specific recommendations. The recommendations below are approximations.

  • 1 bushel = approximately 50 pounds 
  • 1 pound = 2 or 3 medium-sized pears
  • 1 pound = 2 cups sliced pears

Nutrition

The Dietary Guideline for Americans recommends 2 cups of fruits per day as part of a healthy diet. Pears are a great option for meeting this nutritional requirement:

  • A medium-sized pear (3½ ounce) provides about 100 calories and 6 grams of fiber.
  • Pears contain potassium, copper, and vitamins C and K.

Storage

  • To ripen pears, place them in a loosely closed paper bag at room temperature until the flesh responds easily to a gentle thumb pressure at the neck. Check pears daily for ripeness. 
  • Always handle pears gently to avoid bruising the fruit. Bruised areas rapidly decay. 
  • Store ripe pears in the refrigerator. 
  • Rinse pears gently with cool water before eating. Do not use soap, detergent, or bleach because these liquids absorb into the fruit.
  • Sliced pears will turn brown when exposed to air. Prevent browning by coating pears with an acidic juice such as lemon, orange, or pineapple juice, and by cutting them as close to serving time as possible. 

Serving Ideas

  • Pears are great eaten cold from the refrigerator. Cold enhances the pear’s flavor. Three Red Bartlett pears sitting in a row.
  • Sprinkle with brown sugar, add a small amount of margarine or butter, and broil pears for a meat topping.
  • Add sliced pears to water for a flavor boost.
  • For a quick relish, mix 3 coarsely chopped pears with 2 tablespoons melted margarine or butter, 2 tablespoons of brown sugar, and 1 cup of chili sauce. Serve with poultry.
  • The combination of pear slices, English walnuts, and a variety of cheeses served with a ruby Port wine is an elegant addition to a party menu.
  • Breakfast is brighter with pear slices topped with blueberries and sprinkled with brown sugar and a dash of nutmeg.
  • Pair an unusual dessert with an Italian meal—squeeze fresh lemon juice over pear halves, sprinkle with oregano, and serve with cheddar cheese.

Oven-Baked Pear Pancake

Americans typically think of pancakes as the thin, fluffy variety which are normally cooked on a griddle or frying pan. This oven-baked version makes a delicious breakfast, or an interesting dessert. This recipe works well with any variety of pear.

Yield: 6 servings
Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients

  • 4 ripe pears, peeled, cored, and sliced
  • 4 eggs, separated into whites and yolks
  • ¼ cup chopped walnuts
  • ¾ cup brown sugar, divided
  • ⅓ cup flour
  • ⅓ cup milk
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Dash of salt

Cooking Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  2. Prepare the pears and set aside.
  3. Combine ¼ cup brown sugar, flour, milk, egg yolks, baking powder, and dash of salt in a bowl.
  4. Mix well with a fork and set aside.
  5. Combine butter, ¼ cup brown sugar, and cinnamon in an ovenproof skillet or frying pan.
  6. Cook on stovetop until butter melts and combines with sugar. Remove from heat.
  7. Arrange the pear slices in the butter mixture in the pan and sprinkle with walnuts.
  8. Mix egg whites and remaining brown sugar in a small bowl until soft.
  9. Combine with egg yolk mixture.
  10. Pour over pear slices and bake in oven for 10 minutes until golden brown.

Nutrition

Serving Size: 1/6 Pancake (191g)
Calories: 340
Fat: 13g
Carbohydrate: 52g
Dietary Fiber: 5g
Protein: 7g

For information on preserving pears, go to ohioline.osu.edu, or contact your local Ohio State University Extension office for the following fact sheets:

References

FoodData Central. n.d. U.S. Department of Agriculture (website), accessed July 29, 2021. fdc.nal.usda.gov.

National Center for Home Food Preservation. n.d. University of Georgia, College of Family and Consumer Sciences (website). Accessed July 29, 2021. nchfp.uga.edu.

USA Pears. n.d.  “Oven-Baked Pear Pancake.” Recipe. Accessed July 29, 2021. usapears.org/recipe/oven-baked-pear-pancake.