In the Kitchen: Pears
Of all the fruits available to us during the winter holidays, I find the pear to be one of the loveliest. The soft shape and subtle color appeal to my artist's sensibilities. I am especially fond of Bartlett pears because they change color as they ripen. A low bowl filled with Bartletts makes an elegant arrangement that will gradually shift from chartreuse to shades of red and green over time.
Pears are a versatile fruit that are delicious whether eaten raw or cooked. They are one of the few fruits that do not ripen well on the tree. It is not until after they are harvested that begin to mature.
It is best to store unripe pears in a bowl or bag at room temperature. You can test a pear for ripeness by gently pressing near the stem. If it gives a little to the pressure, it is ready to eat. They actually ripen from the inside out, so if you try this test on the middle of the pear and it gives, you probably have an over ripe fruit.
Store ready to use pears in the coldest part of your refrigerator. Just be aware that they produce ethylene which is harmless to us, but causes accelerated aging in other ethylene sensitive produce such as broccoli, cabbage, and lettuce.