By Kathrin Dellago
Pears always seem to lose their fight against apples…. We don’t really know why. Perhaps it’s because they are not perceived as nutritious as apples, or maybe it’s because they are more delicate, or because the marketing machine behind the worldwide apple producers is so much more powerful. No matter what, I’ve decided to give pears a chance – it’s the perfect season – and I am constantly adding pears to my shopping bag, fruit bowl, and salads.
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From a nutritional perspective, apples are indeed higher in vitamins such as Vitamin C and polyphenols, but pears have high levels of minerals such as potassium (comparable to bananas), phosphorus, calcium and magnesium. They are high in fiber and stimulate detoxification and increased metabolism. Furthermore, pears have lower levels of acidity than apples and as such can be eaten more than once a day. What both fruits have in common, though, is that all the good stuff is right at the skin, so make sure to eat the whole lot – after carefully washing them.
When you purchase pears, choose pears with stems attached and unblemished, unbroken skin. You can ripen them at home, keeping in mind that they ripen from the inside out, so test for ripeness by pressing gently on the neck near the stem. Pears are very delicate, so handle with care as they bruise easily. Store them at room temperature to ripen or refrigerate them if you’d like to slow the ripening process by a few days, not longer. Pears taste best and are the juiciest at room temperature.
There are so many ways to enjoy a ripe pear. Its soft and juicy flesh is ideal for juices and fruits salads, but also go well in more savory dishes such as a green leafy salad. One important thing is that pears are among the twelve foods on which pesticide residues have been most frequently found, according to the EWG 2003 report “Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce”. So find the organic kind or be sure to wash them in a strong vegetable wash.
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