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from the AICR Newsletter: Winter 2011, Issue 110

Enjoy Your Anjou: Celebrate Pears

Know Your Pears

Anjou: Originally from France, these juicy pears have a yellowish green skin that turns a little amber and slightly bitter-tasting when ripe.

Asian: These crisp, golden pears look and taste more like apples and may require more cooking time than other varieties.

Bartlett: Rounder and a little bumpy, Bartlett pears may be the most popular kind for eating straight from your fruit bowl, especially because they are among the first to ripen.

Bosc: Red-colored and slimmer than other pears, Boscs are dense and less juicy, making them perfect for cooking. Leave on their graceful stems when baking or poaching them whole.

Few things are more scrumptious than the sweet juiciness of a ripe pear. Lucky for us, they ?t into a cancer-preventing diet.

When you crave something sweet, a pear is an ideal choice. Eaten with the skin, a medium pear packs more than five grams of filling, health-protecting fiber. According to research, plant foods rich in dietary fiber help protect us from colorectal cancer and other chronic diseases. With only about 100 calories, a pear also supplies a good dose of the antioxidant vitamin C and even adds a little of the mineral potassium. Don't resist bringing home a generous bag of pears from your local grocer or farmers’ market. Pears are picked when they are mature but unripe. Ripen them at room temperature, checking for ripeness daily by applying gentle pressure to the stem ends with your thumb. If they yield to pressure, then your pears are ripe and ready to eat or cook. Once they are ripe, put pears in the refrigerator to prevent them from getting mushy. They will keep refrigerated up to five days.

Pair Your Pear for Even More Nutrition

It’s hard to improve the taste of a ripe pear, but pair this fruit with just the right food or spice and you’ll delight your taste buds. Dress up a spinach or romaine salad with thinly sliced pears, a thin shaving of fresh Parmesan cheese and a sprinkle of chopped walnuts. Or toss pear cubes with salad greens and drizzle with balsamic vinaigrette. For a simple, elegant dessert, enjoy a fragrant baked pear. Sweet spices such as cinnamon, cloves, ginger, nutmeg or allspice enhance the flavor of a cooked pear and may provide antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds.

Pears combine well with phytochemical- and antioxidant-packed whole grains like oats and brown rice. Toss diced pear into a brown rice or barley stuffing with cranberries and walnuts. You can even slip a few thin slices of pear into your turkey-on-whole-wheat sandwich. Or cook up this perfect Autumn Pear Crisp using oats.

Autumn Pear Crisp

  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1/8 cup chopped walnuts
  • 3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 3 Tbsp. whole-wheat flour
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp. packed light
  • Brown sugar
  • 1/8 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 Tbsp. canola oil, plus 2 tsp.
  • 6 firm, ripe medium pears,
  • peeled (if desired), cored and
  • cubed, preferably Bosc
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. flour
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • Pinch cloves

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly spray 9-inch round cake pan and set aside. In food processor, pulse oats and walnuts for 15 seconds. Add flours, brown sugar and cinnamon. Blend 15 more seconds. While running, drizzle oil and blend 30 seconds. Transfer to bowl and mix thoroughly.

In another bowl, toss pears with next 6 ingredients. Spoon pears into prepared cake pan. Cover with oat mixture, pressing down gently. Bake 45-50 minutes, until topping is brown and pears are bubbling. Serve hot, topped with a spoonful of low-fat vanilla yogurt, if desired.

Makes 9 servings.

Per serving (without toppings): 190 calories, 6 g total fat (0 g saturated fat), 35 g carbohydrates,
2 g protein, 5 g dietary fiber, 0 mg sodium.

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