Food and Cooking Encyclopedia: Pears

These varieties of pears are available in the winter:

Anjou: An egg-shaped, pear with a pale green, yellow-green, or red skin. Because it is a sweet and juicy pear, it is good for salads and snacks.

Bose: A variety, with golden brown skin that has russeting and a long neck. It has a creamy texture and is full-flavored. It holds its shape well during cooking so is good for baking, poaching, and broiling.

Comice: A chubby, green or greenish yellow pear with a thick, short stem and sometimes a red blush on one side. This variety is not recommended for cooking or baking, but it is fine fresh, especially with cheese, because it is very sweet and juicy.

Nelis: An egg-shaped variety with russet-colored skin. It is a good choice for salads and snacks.

Q: What's the best way to ripen pears?

A: Place the firm pears in a paper bag or a loosely covered bowl. Let them stand at room temperature for a few days. You can tell most varieties are ripe when they yield to gentle pressure at the stem end. Yellow Bartlett pears, however, become a bright yellow, and red Bartletts become a brilliant red when ripe.


Once ripened, you can keep fresh pears in the refrigerator for several days. Pears do not freeze well.

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