Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The heroic tale of an underripe pear's transformation to greatness in two minutes flat.

I didn't used to be a pear eater. Probably because my mom wasn't a pear eater. Our issue was that we didn't know how to pick our pears and kept eating underripe pears. Not too tasty. Like apples, there are many varieties of pears, each with their own flavor profile and texture. Try a few types before writing off the whole category.

Pears actually ripen best off of the tree, so you're not likely to find ripe pears in the grocery store. The best recommendation is to wait until the pears are actually ready to eat - this can be hurried a bit by putting apples in your fruit bowl: they release ethylene gas and can promote ripening.

When is the pear ripe? "Check the Neck" is the advice. If the area around the stem is tender, your pear should be good to go.

Unfortunately, like all new skills, this requires some practice. I thought I had a ripe pear this morning but once I had sliced it, it was still quite crunchy. As it wasn't an Asian pear, which are supposed to be crunchy, I knew I was in trouble.

What to do?

The fruit wasn't going to ripen any further once it was cut, and I really wanted to avoid wasting food. Then, I remembered a friend once making a fruit dish for her kiddos and thought it would work here. I chopped the pear into bite-sized pieces, added a few tablespoons of water and microwaved it until the pear chunks were tender, about 1-2 minutes. I drained the excess water and added some homemade applesauce. In 30 more seconds, the dish was ready to go and boy did it smell good!

So there you go, underripe and potentially food waste being transformed into a belly-warming treat with a little creative thinking. In the mean time, I'll give the rest of the pears a few more days before I try again!

Reader poll: How have you avoided food waste with some flexibility and creative thinking?


  1. This sounds really good! My favorite use for pears is to make pear butter (with a teeny bit of amaretto)... so tasty.

  2. OOh, that sounds delicious :) Do you have a recipe?


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