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What are the Benefits of Pear

Updated on May 4, 2010

Where did Pear Originate

This is a tough question. It is likely the pear has been eaten, in one form or another, since pre-history. Traces of pear have been found in Swiss Lake Dwellings and the Celtic word for pear has been found in ancient writing. It is also mentioned in Homer's Odyssey. First century Romans also ate them, but never raw. Pliny's Natural History even mentions them in a recipe based on stewing with honey. Pliny named three dozen varieties of pear. An ancient Roman cookbook has a recipe for a spiced stewed-pear patina, or soufflé.

For all of this no one is quite certain when the first pear was cultivated

Both the apple and pear are related to one another.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Bartlett PearClapps-FavoritePear Blossoms
Bartlett Pear
Bartlett Pear
Clapps-Favorite
Clapps-Favorite
Pear Blossoms
Pear Blossoms

Nutritional Value

Pears are somewhat light on nutrition having less than ten percent of many of the nutrients humans require. Still, as a desert, rather than a "main meal" plant it still provides some traces of the daily requirements.

A three and a half ounce serving of pear provides 15.5 grams of carbohydrate, 10 grams simple sugars, 3 grams dietary fiber, 0 grams of fat, and less than a third of a gram of protein.

It also provides less than five percent of vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6 and B9. It contains 7% RDA of vitamin C, along with trace amounts of iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc.

Since most of the dietary fiber and vitamin C are in the skin eating a whole pear has better health benefits than just the fruit.

Health Benefits of Pear

Antioxidant
Pears contain glutathione which is good for both high blood pressure and stroke. Pears also contain trace amounts of copper, another well known antioxidant.

Other Benefits
Pears are high in pectin which is known to bring down cholesterol levels. The fiber in pears is good for your colon; reducing the growth of polyps. Pears, especially the skin, have a laxative effect. The juice is also good for maintaining regularity. Pears contain boron which is known to help the body retain calcium.

Pears have a low glycemic index (GI) making them a better fruit choice for diabetics. This low GI also means the fruit is processed lower in the colon making them a "cleaner" of sorts.

Pears are hypo-allergenic making it one of the very few fruits allowed on an elimination diet. Pears also seem to improve lung function and are a natural expectorant.  This has been born out in an Australian study that linked a reduction in cases of asthma to pear consumption.


Choosing Pears

Pear should be chosen when firm. Or, if you wish to eat them right away, choose pears that will dent slightly when pressed, similar to the avocado.

To speed up ripening place your pears in a paper bag and leave out at room temperature.

As with most fruit, once the pear is ripe refrigerate to retard the ripening process. Also, store your pears away from smelly foods as they absorb odors.

Less than Usual Pear Recipes

Pear Quesadillas

Ingredients

  • 4 ten inch (burrito size) flour tortillas
  • 2 pears, Bartlett recommended
  • 4 ounces Monterrey Jack cheese (Brie can be substituted)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 Cup salsa

Directions

  1. Place the tortillas on a flat surface.
  2. Prepare pears by coring and slicking; eight wedges should do (leave the peel on).
  3. Slice cheese into twelve or more very slices. (thin is best)
  4. Place pear and cheese on one half of each tortilla.
  5. Fold bare half of the tortilla over to form a semi-circle.
  6. Heat a nonstick skillet and once hot place a folded tortilla in the pan and heat just until the cheese starts to melt. Maybe three minutes tops.
  7. Turn the quesadilla over* and continue heating until lightly browned. About two minutes.
  8. Slice each quesadilla in half and drizzle about 1 tablespoon of salsa over the top.

* by cooking one tortilla at a time you can use a large spatula or two spatula to turn the tortilla without spilling the contents.


Pear Coleslaw

Ingredients

  • 1 Medium green cabbage, shredded
  • 1 small read onion, minced
  • 1/2 Cup chopped parsley (cilantro works here too)
  • 2 Tablespoons orange zest (about half the orange peel)
  • 1/3 Cup Mayonnaise
  • 1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 3 Tablespoons orange juice
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar (brown or unbleached works well here)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground clove
  • 2 Cups fresh pears, julienned

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, toss together the cabbage, onion, parsley, and orange zest.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, sour cream, vinegar, orange juice, sugar, and cloves.
  3. Taste, then season with salt and pepper.
  4. Pour the dressing over the cabbage mixture and toss until well coated.
  5. Toss with the pears. Garnish with orange slices and serve.


Pears and Brussels Sprouts

Ingredients

  1. 2 pounds Brussels Sprout, halved
  2. 8 bacon strips, diced
  3. 4 medium pears, cut into one inch wedges
  4. 2 Tablespoons thyme

Directions

  1. Place brussels sprouts in a steamer basket and place in a small saucepan over 1 inch of water.
  2. Bring to a boil; cover and steam for 4-5 minutes or until tender. Salting the water will help with the process.
  3. In a non-stick skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp; drain.
  4. Place bacon on paper towels.
  5. Add the pear, thyme and Brussels sprouts to skillet.
  6. Cook, uncovered over medium heat for 5-10 minutes or until heated through.
  7. Stir in bacon.
  8. Serve and Enjoy!


Pear Soup with Port Wine

  1. 1/2 Cups water
  2. 1 Cup tawny port
  3. 1/3 Cup granulated sugar
  4. Zest from 1/2 orange
  5. 4 black peppercorns
  6. 3 large eggs
  7. 1 1/2 teaspoons anise seed
  8. 6 medium firm Bartlett pears; peeled, halved, cored, and quartered
  9. 12 ginger cookies (shortbread biscuits work too)
  10. Fresh raspberries for garnish
  11. Mint sprigs for garnish

Directions

  1. In a large heavy saucepan, combine water, port wine, sugar, orange zest, peppercorns, lightly beaten eggs, and anise seeds.
  2. Bring just to a boil; reduced heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes.
  3. Add pear quarters and gently simmer until tender but not mushy or twenty to twenty-five minutes. Remove from heat.
  4. With a slotted spoon, remove pears from liquid and set aside.
  5. Strain poaching liquid and throw spices away.
  6. Place the poaching liquid in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
  7. Continue boiling over medium heat until reduced by about 1/3.
  8. Pour liquid into a medium container and add pears; set aside and let cool.
  9. When at room temperature, cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or up to one day.
  10. About 1 hour before serving, remove from refrigerator. Remove pears with a slotted spoon and place in a food processor or blender (with a blender, you may have to work in batches).
  11. Pour approximately 1/2 cup of the poaching liquid into the pears.
  12. Puree until the pears are smooth, with no visible chunks.
  13. Add more poaching liquid until desired consistency is reached.
  14. Return to the refrigerator until chilled.
  15. When ready to serve, pour chilled pear soup into goblets, pretty dessert bowls, or attractive dessert cups.
  16. Serve gingersnap cookies (or shortbread biscuits) alongside soup or roughly crumble and sprinkle on top.
  17. Garnish with fresh raspberries and mint sprig.

Comments

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  • Jule Romans profile image

    Jule Romans 8 years ago from United States

    I enjoyed the historical information.

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