Pears are a yummy package of juicy sweetness with their soft yet grainy texture and flesh that is easy to sink your teeth into. Eating a pear is like butter. And with only 100 calories per serving, nutritionally dense pears are much more satisfying than butter.
As a member of the rose family, it’s no surprise that pears come in colors! From yellow, green, brown, and red, pears come in a full palette of fruit. As pretty as the pear is, it’s the names that lend the exotic from the well-known bosc, anjou, barlett, and comice, to the lesser known passe, crassane, packham, and conference pulling ahead into the public awareness. Pears were called a “gift from the Gods” by Homer in his epic The Odyssey, and indeed their nutritional benefits are a gift.
Pear Nutrition and Known Benefits
Pears provide a good source of Vitamin C, packing over 11% of the recommended daily value. Vitamin C is valued as an antioxidant and promotes a healthy immune system. Vitamin C is a good choice every time to promote optimum health.
The “gift” in the pear is the important nutrient: copper. Copper directly supports an enzyme called superoxide dismutase (SOD) that eliminates superoxide free radicals. SOD is important for keeping our cell membranes healthy from the daily radical production found in a normal metabolism. Pears provide over 9% of the daily value for copper. A low-intake of copper daily also promotes colon health and the prevention of colon cancer.
The combination of Vitamin C and Copper make pears the ultimate negotiator in the disarmament of free radicals.
The pear also provides over 9% of the daily value of Vitamin K. Vitamin K used in blood clotting and assists in synthesizing liver protein which controls the clotting. Vitamin K can also be found in the intestines, helping to convert glucose into glycogen which is then stored in the liver. Vitamin K is thought to decrease the severity of osteoporosis and inhibit bone loss.
Lemon-Lime Pear Treat
- 1 lemon (peeled)
- 1 lime (peeled)
- 2 ripe pears of any variety or a combination of varieties
Juice all the fruits together and enjoy!
A Brief History of the Pear
Pears are known to have been cultivated in western Asia for over 3,000 years. Yet some researchers believe that the pear was eaten by Stone Age humans. Pears have long been a food staple for humans, known to be available in the court of Louis XIV and brought to the Americas by early colonists. Missionaries are said to have spread the perfection of the pear as they moved west.
The Perfection of Selection
Once ripe, pears are extremely perishable. So choose pears at the grocer that are still firm, yet not overly hard. It is likely that unripe pears will be your only choice and will require a couple of days to ripen. The skin should be smooth and may have brown-speckled patches – these are good pears to choose.
Avoid pears with soft spots that sport punctures. Leave the pears at room temperature to ripen and when the skin indents to gentle pressure, they are ready to be used. If you wish to hurry the ripening process along, place the pears in a paper bag at room temperature.
Preparation of the Sacred Pear
Wash pears under cool water and pat dry. Juice the whole pear (cut into juicer chute-size pieces), skin and all. The skin contains important fiber and nutrients.
Storing the Pear
Once ripe, put pears in the refrigerator and they will stay edible for several days. Avoid putting pears in plastic bags or restricted spaces, as they need room to breathe. Keep pears away from strong smelling foods such as onions as pears absorb odor.