Celebrating the Sweet Seckel

Break out the party poppers! National Pear Month is here, and we’re celebrating during December by introducing you to all ten varieties of Northwest-grown pears.

Did you know our favorite fruit comes in a bite-sized variety? Meet the Seckel: crisp, sweet, and petite. Olive green with a maroon blush, the Seckel is ideal pickled, as a picture-perfect garnish for holiday entrees, or eaten fresh out of hand! Sized for small hands, it’s a popular lunchbox pick.

Seckel-hero

Adorn your holiday ham with roasted Seckel pears…or get exotic with this Spiced Squab Breast with Seckels.

087

Make a peck of pickled pears, wrap a ribbon around the jar, and put it under the tree. Voila! This simple gift from your kitchen will have everyone asking for more.

SeckelPearsInJarFork1

Everyone’s going with the grain (salad) this year. You can sweeten your table with this Pear, Roasted Carrot, and Ginger Quinoa Pilaf.

pear quinoa pilaf

Don’t forget to check the neck for ripeness, even on your little Seckels. If your pear gives to gentle pressure near the neck, it’s ripe and ready to eat. Get your snack on!

Pear, Roasted Carrot, and Ginger Quinoa Pilaf

pear quinoa pilaf

Fall is in the air, and all types of fresh pears are arriving at local grocers. This pear and quinoa pilaf makes a healthy and filling side dish or lunch. I love finding new ways to use quinoa, and roasted carrots and ginger make a wonderful savory contrast to the honey sweetness of the pears in this dish. Try this recipe with small and colorful Seckels if you can find them, but if not, any firm-ripe pear will do!

Ingredients
2 cups multicolored carrots, medium dice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup quinoa, rinsed
1 ¼ cups vegetable broth
2 teaspoons fresh ginger, grated
Half an orange, zest and juice
6 firm-ripe Seckel USA Pears (or substitute 2 large pears), sliced or diced
¼ cup roasted and salted pistachios
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place the diced carrots in a small baking dish and toss with the olive oil and a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 18-20 minutes, or until soft and lightly browned on the edges. While the carrots roast, place the quinoa, broth, and ginger into a medium saucepan, cover, and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium low and cook for 8 – 11 minutes, or until quinoa is just tender. Uncover and allow any extra liquid to evaporate, stirring often. Remove the quinoa from the heat.

When the carrots come out of the oven, stir them into the quinoa along with all of the remaining oil from the roasting pan. Add the zest and juice from the orange half, the pear slices, and the pistachios. Stir together gently and season to taste. Serve the pilaf warm or allow to cool—the combination is wonderful served at room temperature as well.

prep time: 30 minutes
yield: 6 servings