Pearing up: Timing is everything with this fruit

Grant County Gourmet

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The fresh pear season is in full swing here. Now is the time to buy local product at inexpensive pricing.

Pick them when they are mature in size but not yet fully ripe. If picked too soon, they will shrivel in storage and will lack in flavor. If picked when overmature, they will be coarse in texture, very soft, and often rotten on the inside.

Picked pears should be ripened in a cool place. Not all pears will ripen at the same time, but inspect them daily. Pears are ripe when the ground color changes, then flesh near the stem end yields to gentle pressure and there is a pear “smell.” Use immediately or store in the refrigerator until ready to use.

The following canned pear recipe is from a Ball Blue book I have.


MINT PEARS

Wash 10 pounds of pears, peel, cut in halves or quarters and core. To prevent darkening during preparation, put the cut fruit into water containing 1 teaspoon ascorbic acid powder per gallon of water. Or, crush and dissolve six 500-milligram vitamin C tablets per gallon of water. Drain just before heating or packing raw.

Pears canned with syrup will hold their shape better and maintain better flavor. Fruit juices may be used instead of syrup, however, because of the mild flavor of pears, these juices will impart their flavor to the pears.

Hot pack – In a large pot, heat together 6 1/2 cups of water with 3/4 cup of sugar, along with a few drops of mint oil and green food coloring. Heat fruit in hot syrup for 10 minutes. Pack hot pears in pint jars and cover with boiling syrup, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles by running a plastic spatula or blunt knife between the jar and the fruit. Wipe rims and adjust lids. Process pints for 25 minutes in a boiling water canner in most areas of the Basin. After processing, take canner off heat. Remove lid and wait 5 minutes before removing jars.


PEAR MUFFINS

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/4 cup melted butter, cooled
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 medium pears, peeled, cored and diced
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. On a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. In another bowl, beat together milk, egg, butter, and lemon zest. Mix pears and nuts into flour mixture. Gently stir milk mixture into dry ingredients. Batter should be lumpy, not smooth. Do not over mix. Spray muffin pans with nonstick spray. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until tops are browned. Remove from pan immediately and serve warm.


PEAR SMOOTHIE

  • 1 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 peeled and halved kiwi
  • 2 halved and cored ripe pear
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 cup ice cubes

Combine all of the ingredients in a blender. Cover. Puree on low speed until all the large chunks are gone, then increase speed until desired consistency is reaches. Pour into glasses and serve.


POMEGRANATE PEAR SALAD

  • 3 cups green leaf lettuce, rinsed and torn
  • 1 Bartlett pear, halved and cored.
  • 1/3 cup pomegranate seeds
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons pomegranate juice
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon prepared Dijon-style mustard
  • 1/2 tablespoon honey
  • Pepper to taste

Divide the lettuce between two bowls. Cut the pear halved into slices. Divide the pear slices and pomegranate seeds among the two bowls and mix gently. Combine the vegetable oil, pomegranate juice, lemon juice, mustard, honey, and pepper in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat; reduce heat and simmer, stirring frequently, until the dressing thickens slightly, about 2 minutes. Pour the warm dressing over the salads and serve.


EASY PEAR CHEESECAKE

  • 1 1/2 cups crushed gingersnap cookies
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted, slightly cooled
  • 12 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 large, ripe pear, small diced
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick

Place gingersnap cookies in a food processor and chop until fine. Stir in melted butter until moistened. Divide among four serving bowls and press cookie crumbs to the bottom to form the crust. Set aside.

In a mixing bowl beat cream cheese until smooth. Add sour cream and mix until incorporated. Scrape down bowl as needed to ensure thorough mixing. Add powdered sugar and heavy cream. Mix on low speed until mixture is smooth. Divide batter among serving containers; level when done with a spoon. Cover and store in fridge for at least 2 hours.

Place chopped pear in a sauce pan. Add water, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Set over medium heat and cook until sugar has melted, stirring often. Once sugar has melted, remove from heat. Set aside until cheesecake is chilled. Spoon pears and syrup over cheesecakes. Serve immediately.

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