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Pears

The pear has always taken second seat to the celebrated apple. Luckily, December is National Pear Month (yes, this is a thing), and people are becoming pear aware.

Okay. All kidding aside, I really do want to take a moment to celebrate the often overlooked pear, its nutrition qualities, the varieties that exist, and the great ways you can incorporate pears into your December festivities. Plus, being in season (one of the only fruits in season, actually), you’re likely to get fresher pears at a lower price than other out-of-season fruits.

So, let’s talk about the pear, why I love them, and how you can make them part of your winter recipes. (It’s not just a December fruit!)

  • Pear Nutrition InfographicPears are crazy-high in fiber (20% of the recommended daily allowance), not to mention potassium (5% of the recommended daily allowance) and Vitamin C (10% of the recommended daily allowance).  The Institute of Medicine recommends 25 grams of fiber per day for women 50 and younger and 21 grams, per day, for women over 50.  For men, it’s 38 and 30 grams of fiber respectively. A pear is a great way to start the day.
  • Pears are a sweet, low-calorie option for the afternoon munchies. A medium-sized pear has about 100 calories and goes great with sharp cheeses, whole-grain bread, and/or crackers.
  • Pears actually ripen off the tree. (This fruit is crazy adaptable!) So bring home some hard pears and leave them out at room temperature for a couple of days.
  • There’s more than the Anjou – the classic, sweet, crispy green pear we’re used to picking up at the market. In fact, USA Pears claim there are over 3,000 pear varieties in the world. Some other interesting varieties include: Comice pears, sweet and juicy; Starkrimson pears, a gorgeous red color with a sweet, almost-floral; Asian pears, called apple pears, crisp and juicy, like an apple, but with a distinctive texture; Bosc pears, grainy and earthy. It’s National Pear Month so try out some of these unique, and tasty, varieties.
  • Who says pears can’t replace high-calorie fried foods for your holiday gatherings? Try these unique pear and beer pearings http://usapears.org/beer-pairings/  (couldn’t resist). With the holidays and so many high-calorie drinks, it’s easy to lose track of those extra calories. Partnering beer with pears is a smart way to indulge while keeping those calories in check.
  • PearsInstead of the typical sweets holiday tray, bring on the pears. Provide savory options (pears with prosciutto, cheddar dip, nut butter), or sweet (melted dark chocolate).
  • Fancy up your grilled cheese sandwich by making grilled cheese and pear sandwiches – adding that taste of sweet to balance out the heavy cheese. Manchego or sharp cheddar are great options. Try it with a crusty bread.  Other mouthwatering recipe options can be found at the USA Pears website.

As silly as it may seem, celebrating fruits is a great way to break out of our comfort zone. Most of my readers probably never realized you could make pear hummus, pear chutney, or pear toast. It’s exciting to use in-season fruits and vegetables and a smart way to ensure you get a variety of foods, nutrients, while reducing your carbon footprint… All this by celebrating the pear!