This time of year, I crave pears. I used to eat them right off the tree when I lived on Oak Street in Tacoma. We had two or three old gnarled Bartlett pear trees. I remember those pears as juicy, sweet and full of flavor.
We picked them in early September while they were still green and firm. Pears continue to get better after they are harvested. Their sweetness, aroma and flavor improve and the texture softens, too.
My mother canned our pear harvest. We would enjoy cold pears with their sweet syrup as a favorite dessert.
I didn’t know back then that pears, apples and quince are related to one another. They all belong to the rose family and are known as pomes. Pome is Latin for fruit.
Pear-shaped indicates a skinny top and a broad bottom. The fleshy part of the pear develops at the tip of the flower stem. The fruit develops from the bottom, its core contains small seeds in a tough core and the stem projects from the skinny end of the fruit.
Pears are an excellent source of fiber and provide a good source of antioxidants, especially concentrated in the skin.
According to Harold McGee, author of “On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen”, the flavor of pears differs among varieties and can also vary depending on what part of the tree where the fruit grew and even within a single fruit.
Debra Daniels Zeller’s new cookbook, “The Northwest Vegetarian Cookbook”, has several enticing pear recipes. I decided to try Balsamic Poached Pears this afternoon. Such an easy and healthy recipe, the pears were ready in 15 minutes. The queen of herbs, lavender, wanted to join the pears as they simmered in the raspberry wine, so I used lavender sugar. I decided to top these luscious pomes with Debra’s suggested grated coconut.
If you are looking for an elegant, simple, seasonal dessert, you must try this recipe!
2 tablespoons berry preserves
2 tablespoons lavender sugar
¼ cup raspberry wine
1 ½ cups water
2 large Bosc pears, cored an halved
Grated coconut (optional)
- Combine the berry preserves, lavender sugar and raspberry wine in a small bowl. Mix well and stir into the water in a medium saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat.
- Add the pears, reduce the heat to low, and gently simmer uncovered for about 10 minutes. Let the pears cool in the liquid, the remove them into a serving dish and spoon the sauce over.
Garnish with coconut if desired. Serves 4