National Pear Month celebrates the versatility of pears
THIS NATIONAL PEAR MONTH, “CHECK THE NECK™” FOR RIPENESS
Pear Bureau Northwest Blazes a Juicy Trail this Pear Season, Teaching Proper Ripening Tips and Harvesting Fresh New Recipes on its The Time is Ripe for Pears Tour
PORTLAND, Ore. (Nov. 8, 2011) – With a recent survey* showing 84 percent of pear shoppers are unaware of how to tell when a pear is ripe, Northwest pear growers decided the time is ripe to educate consumers about proper ripening in a national promotion culminating this December, National Pear Month.
As part of its The Time is Ripe for Pears Tour, Pear Bureau Northwest (PBNW) is crisscrossing the country this pear season, bringing juicy USA Pears to chefs and consumers in eight cities. Along the way, the nonprofit organization is collecting inspiring new recipes from top chefs, while educating consumers about pear ripening.
“Pears are known as a versatile, interesting fruit,” says Cristie Mather, communications director for Pear Bureau Northwest. “However, as widely loved as they are, most people are still unaware of how to tell when a pear is ripe.”
A little known fact about the pear is that it is one of the few fruits that does not ripen on the tree. Pears are harvested when mature, but not yet ripe. The best way to test ripeness: Check the Neck™ by applying gentle thumb pressure to the “neck,” or stem end, of the pear. If it yields to pressure, it’s ripe, sweet and juicy. To ripen a pear, leave it at room temperature; once the pear is ripe, it can be refrigerated to slow the ripening process.
“Pears can be enjoyed at all points along the ripeness spectrum,” Mather explains. “Some love them firm, sweet-tart, and crisp, while others like them sweet and ultra juicy. Our goal simply is to help people enjoy fresh pears at their own perfect point of ripeness.”
In fact, when cooking or baking, pears can be at their finest when slightly firm, notes Hedy Goldsmith, acclaimed pastry chef at Michael’s Genuine Food and Drink in Miami. “I love eating a sweet, ripe pear out-of-hand,” she says, “but when it comes to baking, I often reach for a slightly firmer pear. The pear’s sweetness and juiciness will naturally heighten as it cooks.”
Goldsmith is one of eight chefs nationwide participating in The Time is Ripe for Pears Tour. From Boston to Seattle, she and other leading chefs are visiting with PBNW to share interesting and new recipes. Visit www.USAPears.org to view original pear recipes from Goldsmith, Jody Adams (Rialto, Boston), Brad Farmerie (Public, New York City), Craig Richards (Ecco, Atlanta), David Katz (Mémé, Philadelphia), David Posey (Blackbird, Chicago), Justin Woodward (Castagna, Portland) and Ethan Stowell (Tavolata, Seattle).
As part of the promotion, PBNW is now asking Facebook fans to share what they find most interesting about pears when entering The Time is Ripe for Pears Sweepstakes. One grand prize winner will receive an expense-paid trip for two to the tour stop of their choice (Boston, New York City, Atlanta, Miami, Philadelphia, Chicago, Portland or Seattle). For Sweepstakes rules and additional information, visit USA Pears’ Facebook page.
* Survey by The Perishables Group for Pear Bureau Northwest, 2010
About Pear Bureau Northwest
The Pear Bureau Northwest was established in 1931 as a nonprofit marketing organization to promote the fresh pears grown in Oregon and Washington.
Today, the United States is the third largest pear-producing country in the world, and Oregon and Washington comprise the nation’s largest pear growing region with 1,600 growers producing 84% of all fresh pears grown in the United States. Pears grown in these two Pacific Northwest states are distributed under the “USA Pears” brand.
Pears are an excellent source of fiber (24% DV) and a good source of vitamin C (10% DV) for only 100 calories per medium sized pear. Sweet and juicy with no fat, no sodium, and no cholesterol, pears are a perfect choice for a snack as well as for any course of any meal of the day.
To learn more and to find culinary insPEARation, visit www.usapears.org, and follow USA Pears on Facebook at www.facebook.com/usapears and Twitter @USApears.
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Cristie Mather, Director of Communications
Pear Bureau Northwest prohibits discrimination in all of its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, sex, religion, political beliefs, or disability. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact the Pear Bureau at (503) 652-9720.