It's Prime Time in the US for Sweet and Juicy Fresh Pears
August 2022 Issue
by Lindsay Gifford
Recipes, Information and Photos Courtesy of Pear Bureau Northwest
August is prime pear picking time for the sweetest, juiciest, freshest pears of the year. When you taste a perfectly ripe pear and smell its aroma it’s easy to see why this fruit has been prized for thousands of years. As summer begins to ripen into fall the Northwest United States bursts with this flavorful fruit and harvest begins in full force.
Washington and Oregon comprise the nation’s largest pear-producing region, and they produce approximately 88-percent of all fresh pears grown in the United States. The Pear Bureau Northwest is an organization that represents nearly 900 grower families and 50 packers and shippers, all who take pride in their ability to provide top-quality fresh USA Pears for the world market. In order to educate consumers, the organization created www.usapears.org—an online world of pear perfection, which features everything you would ever want to know about pears, including nutrition facts, recipes, tips, harvest, varieties and even takes you behind the scenes with growers.
The big, sweet flavor of Northwest pears comes from the natural hospitality of the region’s climate, the passionate growers who work year-round to produce the best fruit, and, of course, the long, delicious history of the pear itself. Each part of the fruit’s journey, from tree to table, forms a little piece of its amazing story that adds to the flavor. Long before the fruit lands on your plate, it grows from a tree nurtured by the rich soil of the Yakima or Rogue River Valley, or is irrigated by the flowing waters of the snow-melt fed rivers of the Cascade Mountains. It spends time growing and maturing on a carefully pruned branch, passing gently through the hands of careful pickers and ripening gracefully in a controlled environment.
Pears are among the most popular fruits in the world, and it’s no wonder why! A nutrient-dense food, they are an excellent source of fiber and have vitamin C all for only 100 calories per serving. There are ten varieties of USA Pears, each with its own distinctive color, flavor and texture. With overlapping seasons of availability, USA Pears are in season nearly year-round.
Pears are a unique fruit in that they ripen best off the tree. As such, pears are transported when they’re fully mature, but not always ripe. This assures that pears you buy are in good condition to properly ripen at home after you buy them. Pears need to ripen at room temperature, so leave them on the kitchen counter, or place in a paper bag to help them ripen faster.
Pears make the perfect partner for wholesome snacking since they're portable, packable and pair-able. While their sweetness, texture and flavor make them a great pairing for wine and cheese, pears have so much more to offer. We have harvested www.usapears.org for the ripe recipes to bring your pear game to a peak. From sides and sauces, to appetizers and desserts, these delightful dishes are sure to be pear-fect!
Pear Breakfast Popovers
Prep Time: 15 mins | Cook Time: 25 mins | Servings: 4
This is an elegant and delicious breakfast recipe that is incredibly easy to make. The simple batter is whipped up in the blender and poured into a muffin tin filled with warm, cinnamon-spiced pears. Serve them immediately for a beautiful display!
¼ cup (half a stick) Butter
2 firm ripe USA Pears, such as Green Anjou or Bosc, medium dice
½ tsp ground Cinnamon
1 cup Milk
½ tsp Vanilla
1 cup Flour
⅛ tsp Salt
Maple syrup for serving
Optional: Creme fraiche, clotted cream or whipped cream
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Melt the butter in the microwave in a medium bowl, about 30 seconds. Lightly grease a 12-muffin or popover tin with butter, including about ½ an inch around the edges of each muffin cup. Add the diced pears and cinnamon to the bowl with the remaining butter and gently stir to combine. Divide the pear mixture between the 12 muffin cups and place in the oven for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine the eggs, milk, and vanilla in a blender and blend thoroughly. Whisk the flour and salt together in a small bowl and add it to the blender. Cover and blend thoroughly, scraping down the sides if necessary. Once the timer goes off, immediately pour the batter over the pears without removing pan from the oven, leaving about ¼ inch of room at the top of each muffin cup. Bake for 22-25 minutes, undisturbed, or until the popovers have puffed up and are beginning to turn golden brown. Loosen the popovers from the tin and serve immediately. Top each popover with any bits of pear that remain in the tin and drizzle with maple syrup, if desired.
Roasted Pear Crumble with Honey Yogurt
Prep Time: 15 mins | Cook Time: 35 mins
Whether served for breakfast or even dessert, this simple dish balances the warm sweetness of roasted pears and honey with creamy yogurt. It can be eaten any time of year, but it feels especially appropriate during autumn and winter when the flavors complement toasty days spent curled up on the couch or celebrating the holidays with loved ones.
1/4 cup rolled Oats
1/4 cup raw Almonds, coarsely chopped
2 Tbsps whole-wheat (or white) All-purpose flour
1/2 tsp ground Cinnamon
Pinch of kosher salt
3 Tbsps Honey, divided
2 Tbsps plus 1 tsp Extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 firm, but ripe USA Anjou pears, halved and cored
2/3 cup Yogurt
Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 375°F. In a medium bowl, combine the oats, almonds, flour, cinnamon and a pinch of salt. Drizzle in 2 tablespoons of both the honey and olive oil. Stir to combine until everything looks wet and clumpy. Arrange the pears with cut sides up in a square baking dish. Drizzle the pears with the remaining 1 teaspoon of olive oil, and rub it in to coat all sides. Loosely top each pear with some of the crumble mixture, dividing it evenly. Bake until the pears are tender when pierced with a fork and the topping is brown and crisp, 30 to 35 minutes.
In a small bowl, stir the remaining tablespoon of honey into the yogurt. Spoon the yogurt into
4 shallow bowls, and place the warm pears on top.
Warm Peanut-Crusted Goat Cheese with Roasted Pears
Prep Time: 45 mins | Cook Time: 30 mins | Servings: 4
Sheet-pan suppers are a weeknight game changer for busy families. In this recipe, crisper pear varieties—think Bosc or underripe Green and Red Anjou or Concorde, Forelle, or Seckel—become lusciously soft.
- Virginia Willis, Chef and cookbook author of “Bon Appetit, Y’all”
1 (4 oz) log of Goat cheese
1 cup Peanuts, very finely chopped
2 tsps Dijon mustard
2 Tbsps unsalted Butter, melted
1 Tbsp Red wine vinegar
2 Tbsps Shallot, finely chopped
3 Tbsps extra virgin Olive oil
10 oz mixed baby Salad greens
2 firm, ripe USA Pears, such as Bosc, Concorde, or Anjou, halved lengthwise and cored
Heat the oven to 400°F. Place the finely chopped peanuts in a shallow dish and season with salt and pepper. Roll the goat cheese log in the peanuts to evenly coat. Refrigerate until firm if necessary, then cut evenly into 4 rounds. In a separate baking pan, arrange pears, cut side down. Pour butter over the pears and toss to coat. Return pears to cut side down position. Roast until tender, about 25 minutes. Rearrange pears to cut side up in the baking dish. Place rounds of peanut-crusted goat cheese on top in the scooped center. Continue to roast 5 minutes more, until the cheese is melted and soft.
Meanwhile, whisk together the shallot, mustard, and vinegar. Add oil in a slow stream, whisking until emulsified, and season with salt and pepper. Just before serving, toss salad greens with just enough dressing to coat. Remove pears from the oven and serve each salad topped with a roasted pear topped with goat cheese.
Pear and Chicken Meatball Banh Mi Sandwiches
Prep Time: 40 mins | Cook Time: 35 mins
Servings: 6 (about 18 meatballs)
Pickled Pear and Carrot Topping:
1 Tbsp Sugar
1 cup Pears cut into 2-by-1/8-inch sticks
1 tsp Kosher salt
1 cup Carrots cut into 2-by-1/8-inch sticks
1/4 cup unseasoned Rice vinegar
1 lb ground Chicken
3/4 cup peeled USA Pears cut in 1/4-inch dice
1 Shallot, minced
3 cloves Garlic, minced
2 tsps Sriracha
1 1/2 Tbsps Cornstarch
1 tsp Kosher salt
1 Tbsp Vietnamese fish sauce
1/2 tsp freshly ground Black pepper
1 Tbsp toasted Sesame oil, plus more as needed
2 stalks Lemongrass, trimmed, peeled, and tender inner core minced
2/3 cup Mayonnaise
1 Tbsp Sriracha chile sauce
18 Cucumber slices
2 to 3 Jalapeño chiles, thinly sliced
12 fresh Cilantro sprigs
Fresh Thai basil leaves (optional)
6 individual baguettes (or 2 baguettes cut into six 8-inch segments)
To make the topping: Toss all the ingredients in a medium bowl. Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour, tossing occasionally. Use immediately or refrigerate, covered, for up to 2 days.
To make the meatballs: Combine all of the ingredients, except the sesame oil, in a medium bowl. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Working in 2 batches, cook the meatball patties by scooping up heaping tablespoons of the meat mixture forming them into a flattened meatball and dotting them around the pan at least 1-inch apart. Cook until nicely browned on the first side, then flip them over and sear on the second side until cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Repeat to cook the remaining meat mixture, adding more oil to the pan as needed.
To make the sandwiches: Cut the baguettes in half lengthwise. Pull out some of the bread from the top half to make room for the fillings. In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise and sriracha. Spread the sriracha mayo on the cut sides of each baguette. Arrange the cucumber slices on the bottom halves. Add 3 meatballs to each, and top with the drained pickle topping, jalapeno slices and herbs.
Photography: George Barberis (@georgebarberis)
Recipe and Styling: Andrea Slonecker (@andreaslonecker)
Pear Pizza with Brie Cheese and Rosemary
Prep Time: 15 mins | Cook Time: 1 hr
1 prepared Pizza dough
4 Tomatoes, cut in four pieces
2 Garlic cloves
1 cup Basil leaves
¼ cup Olive oil
2 Anjou pears, thinly sliced
½ piece Brie cheese, sliced
2 Rosemary branches (the leaves)
Salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Toss tomato chunks, garlic, basil and olive oil together and place them in an oven-proof pan. Bake for 30 minutes. Once cooled slightly, use an immersion blender (or pulse in blender) to transform to a sauce and season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Stretch the pizza dough and make 1 large or 2 small pizzas. Spread the tomato sauce and add pear slices, cheese, rosemary leaves and a little pepper. Bake at 430°F for 8 minutes, or until golden brown.
Maple-Glazed Sweet Potato & Pear Casserole
Prep Time: 40 mins | Cook Time: 2 hrs
In this updated take on the classic sweet potato casserole, sliced pears are layered in for delicious sweet flavor, enhanced by a buttery maple glaze.
3 large Sweet potatoes (about 3 lbs.)
2 Tbsps fresh Lemon juice
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted Butter, divided
1/2 cup pure Maple syrup
11/4 tsps Kosher salt (divided)
1 tsp ground Cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground Ginger
1/2 cup Pecans, chopped
1/2 cup Gingersnap cookies, chopped
3 large USA Bosc Pears, peeled, cored and cut into 1/4-inch slices
Preheat the oven to 400˚F. Prick the sweet potatoes in several places with a fork and place them on a large microwave-safe plate with space between them. Microwave on high until just tender in the center, 10 to 12 minutes, turning once after 5 minutes. (Alternatively, the sweet potatoes can be placed on a baking sheet and roasted in the oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour.) Set aside until cool enough to handle, then peel the sweet potatoes and cut them into 1/4-inch thick slices. Toss the pears with the lemon juice in a large bowl. Add the sweet potatoes and toss together. Layer the sweet potatoes and pear slices in a 3-quart baking dish.
In a small saucepan, combine 6 tablespoons of butter, the maple syrup, 1 teaspoon of salt, the cinnamon and ginger. Place the pan over medium heat until the butter is melted and the mixture comes to a simmer. Pour the butter mixture evenly over the sweet potatoes and pears. Bake, uncovered, until the sweet potatoes and pears are very tender when pierced with a fork, about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, mix the pecans and gingersnaps with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and stir it in to the topping mixture. Remove the baking dish from the oven and spoon the juices from the bottom of the dish over the top of the sweet potatoes and pears. Sprinkle evenly with the pecan topping. Continue baking until the topping is lightly toasted, 10 to 15 minutes. Let rest for 5 to 10 minutes, then serve hot, spooning some of the glaze over each serving.
Turkey Burger and Pear Sliders
Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 10 mins | Servings: 6
1 lb. ground Turkey
1/2 cup Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs
1 large Egg, beaten
1 Tbsps minced dried Onion
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground Pepper
12 small slider Rolls/buns
1-2 Bartlett or Anjou pears sliced (or planked)
3/4 cup Chèvre goat cheese (or creamy goat cheese of your choice)
To make Turkey Burgers: Combine all ingredients in large bowl. Shape into 12 patties (to fit the buns you selected). Pan-fry, broil, or grill until turkey burgers are lightly browned and cooked through, about 5 minutes per side.
To make Pear Slices: Cut pears into 1/4-inch slices (or use a pear-planker) and spray lightly with nonstick spray. Grill or broil pear slices until brown in spots, about 2 minutes per side. To
Assemble: Separate 12 small slider rolls. Spread the bottom half with 1-2 tablespoons of your favorite creamy goat cheese (we used Chèvre). Place fresh arugula leaves on top of the goat cheese, then top with cooked turkey burger. Finish with pear slice and top bun. Serve warm.
Brown Sugar Pear Butter
Prep Time: 15 mins | Cook Time: 20 mins
Servings: 24 (approximately 3 half pints)
“Use golden ripe Bartlett pears for this recipe. This is the perfect opportunity to use up pears that might be getting a bit soft. This rich and complex pear butter recipe is perfect for spreading on toast, great with whipped cream cheese on a bagel, or in recipes—like layering it in the middle of oat bars or to top off jam thumbprint-type cookies.” - Preserving blogger Brook Hurst-Stephens of Learn to Preserve
¼ cup Water
1-2 cups Brown sugar
⅛ tsp ground Allspice
¼ tsp ground Cinnamon
⅛ tsp ground Cloves
¼ tsp ground Nutmeg
½ Vanilla bean (or ½ tsp vanilla extract)
3 lbs (5 large) perfectly ripe Bartlett USA Pears
Wash, then quarter and core pears, placing them in a heavy-bottom preserving pan as you work. Add 1-2 cups water. Do not add more liquid, the pears will create liquid as they cook! Bring to a simmer over low heat, then cover tightly with a lid to keep heat and moisture in. Simmer for approximately 20 minutes, or until pears have softened, then remove pan from heat. Mash pears with a potato masher until they are mushy (approximately 15-30 seconds).
Place a food mill over a bowl, then scoop pear mush into the food mill. Crank away until all that remains in the food mill is a small amount of pear skins/peels. Discard or compost the skins. Measure the pear purée back into the preserving pan, keeping track of the amount of pear puree you end up with; you’ll want to add half that much brown sugar to the pear purée mixture. (For example, for 2 cups of pear purée, you’ll add 1 cup of brown sugar.)
Add one 2-3-inch piece of vanilla bean (to use vanilla extract, see note below) and the remaining spices into the pear purée mixture. Stir well to combine. Cook approximately one hour over low heat, simmering constantly. It will be more of a burble than a simmer, because of the thickening nature of the pear butter. Once desired thickness has been achieved, remove the preserving pan from the heat and remove the vanilla bean, then spoon mixture immediately into hot sterilized jars, leaving ¼-inch headspace.
Note: If you are using vanilla extract instead of a vanilla bean, add it at the end of the cooking process.
At this point you can either cover jars with tight-fitting lids (and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 months, or in the freezer for up to 6 months) or you can process by following the next steps: Look for any air bubbles in the jars and if you see any, use a knife to remove them before wiping rims clean and sealing according to USDA instructions. Process for 10 minutes in a boiling water bath.