Five Uses For An Ugly Pear

Let’s face it: While organic produce is tops in taste, it sometimes comes up short in the beauty department. And since we are a culture trained to prize beauty, that can mean that we too often pass on the better fruits and vegetables.

The pears that we have been getting in our shares aren’t the prettiest pears I’ve ever seen. But their flavor is fabulous. So to help you over pretty fruit syndrome, I’ll give you my five best ways to use an ugly pear:

1. Pear Puree: Easy-peasey lemon squeezey, as my younger son likes to say. Peel the pears, put them in a saucepan with a quarter cup of water over low heat, and let them slowly soften. Puree in a Cuisinart or with a stick blender. I combine the pear puree with other pureed fruits when I make fruit leather in my food dehydrator. You can also make a Bellini with it.

2. Pear Tart: Peel and slice thin, layer on top of a crust with almonds as in this recipe and this one. The first recipe takes only two pears, the second a bit more. But the combination of pears and nuts and cognac is wonderful. My favorite pear tart recipe, however, is the Buttery Pear Tart in King Arthur Flour’s Whole Grain Baking cookbook, which pairs pears with a barley crust and crystallized ginger. Alas, it is not available online.

3. Pear Salad: A crispy bite of pear perks up any fall salad. I like to add pared, julienned pears and a few walnuts to my greens, but a lot of recipes favor blue cheese or Gorgonzola as well.

4. Pear Breakfast: I found this recipe earlier this year after I mistakenly ordered a large bag of wheat berries from King Arthur. Yes, I thought it was odd that a breakfast recipe uses olive oil, but it’s barely a dot and, with all that dried fruit, it’s not noticeable.

5. Pears, Poached: The best pears for poaching are firm pears. I’m not terribly handy with a knife, so it took a bit of time for me to learn how to core them properly. And it is definitely easier to core before you peel the pear. What to poach your pear in? There’s a wide variety of choices, from Asian to Italian and back.

And if you absolutely must have beauty, take a look at this photo: A farmer in China has perfected a method of growing pears to look like babies.

2 Responses

  1. For the pears in our share, I used this Caramel Pear Butter recipe from Epicurious:

    It came out delicious!

  2. Oh yum! Now imagine that filling in these home-made pop-tarts:

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