A Healthy You: It’s Pear Time
Poor pears, they are in season the same time as apples, but apples seem to get all the attention.
The pear was nicknamed “butter fruit” because of its smooth texture. There are more than 3,000 varieties, but only a few are typically consumed. One medium pear contains as much vitamin C and potassium as one half cup of orange juice. An average pear contains about 4 grams of fiber and it is packed with powerful antioxidants.
Pears are one of the only fruits that will ripen best off the tree. To ripen pears quickly, place in a brown paper bag and store at room temperature. Bartlett pears will turn from green to yellow as they ripen. To check for ripeness, press your thumb against the stem end of the pear and when its slightly soft to the touch, it’s ripe.
Pears should be stored at room temperature until ripe. Ripe pears can be stored in the refrigerator for about three days. Like most fruits, pears should not be stored in a bag, which tends to dry out the skin.
To prepare pears, wash, then eat – how simple is that! Make sure you eat the skin since that is where most of the fiber is. Try baked pears in the oven sprinkled with cinnamon for a sweet-tasting treat. And don’t forget, pears can be substituted for apples in everything from pies to crisps.
For recipes and more pear facts, go to www.usapears.com
Healthy You is a regular column about nutrition, healthy living and cancer care. It is written by Cindy Gates, RD and LD and the Cancer Center’s Oncology dietitian, herbalist and Certified Wellness Coach.