December is National Pear Month, and we’re celebrating all ten varieties of USA Pears during these first ten days, along with our friends at Love and Olive Oil, One Sweet Appetite, and The Little Epicurean.
Today, we’re all about the Red Bartlett, a lesser-known sister of the quintessential pear variety, the Bartlett. We love the soft, juicy, and sweet Red Bartlett pear for its bright pop of color and its mellow flavor in recipes. The Red Bartlett can be identified by its soft red skin, classic pear shape, and vertical stripes of color.
Red Bartlett pears shine atop savory entrees, like these Grilled Pizzettas with Pears, Shaved Ham, and Fresh Basil.
Raise a glass to the peak of pear season with Red Bartlett pears in this festive White Sangria with Cranberry Syrup.
File this one away for warmer days: a pitch-perfect summer salad with first-of-the-season Red Bartlett pears, sweet corn, and strawberries.
Red Bartlett pears change from a dark red to a bright, rich red as they ripen. Make sure to keep them at room temperature and check the neck for ripeness. If your pear gives to gentle pressure near the stem, it’s ripe and ready to eat. Only store pears in the refrigerator to slow ripening.
Cheers to National Pear Month!
Our recent supermarket display contest in Central America had some great entries, but this one was particularly eye-catching. It’s clean and well organized, draws attention from shoppers, and features more than one variety: Green Anjou, Red Anjou, and Bosc.
While I can’t say that their version of a pear tree is a truly accurate portrayal of our USA Pear trees here in the Pacific Northwest, the display is impressive and fun, and it’s obvious that the produce department staff put a lot of creativity and enthusiasm into building it!
I came across this beautiful illustration from Belgium in our archives. What a great reminder that USA Red and Green Anjou Pears are still in season! Both Anjou varieties are sweet, juicy, and delicious! They’re also very versatile: you can eat them out-of-hand (for me personally, a sliced Anjou is a great addition to my lunch on a daily basis), in salads, as part of an entree, or dessert. The recipe section at www.usapears.org has great options. And because the Anjou pear doesn’t change color, remember to Check the Neck for ripeness!
While everyone here at our office and our reps around the world are busy, busy planning for the new USA Pears season, harvest has finally begun! Bartletts and Starkrimsons will kick things off – look for them to start popping up in your local grocery stores soon!
I’m getting ready for a tour of the growing regions a bit later in the fall with groups from India and Russia. The most popular variety around the world is the Green Anjou. Many countries aren’t familiar with the lesser-known (but equally delicious in their own way) varieties. It’s a lot of fun to take visitors to the orchards so they can see all the different shapes, sizes, colors, and flavors of USA Pears!
If you haven’t already sampled all of the varieties of USA Pears, add it to your list of things to do this fall, and let us know which is your favorite (if you can choose just one)!
I spent last week visiting some of our markets in Central America, starting south and working my way north, one country per day: Panama City, Panama; San Jose, Costa Rica; San Salvador, El Salvador; and Guatemala City, Guatemala.
Courtesy of Google Maps
I saw many delicious-looking USA Pears in all of the markets, and the quality of the fruit is outstanding, especially considering the long journey required to arrive! The most popular variety is usually the Green Anjou, followed by Red Anjou and Bosc. This year there is also interest in trying the smaller varieties, like Forelle and Seckel. The more varieties, the better! It’s great to see shoppers introduced to all the different flavors that USA Pears have to offer. (Side note: you must go to your own grocery store and pick up as many varieties of USA Pears that they have, then go home and sample each one to decide on your favorite! Mine is Comice.)
In many of these countries, despite the growing number of supermarkets, the traditional markets still play an important part. While some shoppers prefer to do their grocery shopping at a supermarket (which are no different than the ones we shop at here in the U.S., except that most of them are attached to large shopping malls – at least the ones that I saw), many shoppers prefer the traditional or informal market, which can be street vendors selling fresh fruits, vegetables and other products.
Interestingly, the Bosc variety in particular has become very popular in Guatemala in the last few years. Even though shoppers are not used to a brown pear, Guatemala has become the third largest market for USA Boscs. I was very curious to find out why this happened in such a short period of time. Speaking with an importer, I heard one version of the story. Importers make the decisions about what is available for shoppers in both the supermarkets and the traditional markets. A few years ago, one street vendor from the traditional market came to the importer and asked for a brown Bosc pear. The importer had never seen one! But he ordered a small amount to arrive with his other varieties, and they were all sold instantly! So the importer began ordering more and more, and shoppers have adopted Bosc pears as their favorite variety.