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Pear recipes and tips: Make dessert with this delicious fall fruit

Pears may not get as much attention as apples, but they're still one of fall's most treasured gems. Here's how to shop, store and cook them.
How to cook with pears
Judy Kim / TODAY

Pears may not get as much attention as apples, but they’re still one of fall’s most treasured fruits. They can be enjoyed raw as a snack and pair beautifully with a variety of cheeses and nuts — or simply sliced and tossed into salads. The fruit also shines in tarts, cakes, crumbles and other baked desserts and they can be used in most recipes that call for apples. Read on for advice on shopping for, storing and prepping pears.

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How to shop for pears

  • Pears are picked when they're mature but not yet ripe, so they’ll likely be hard when you buy them.
  • Look for pears with smooth skin that’s free of blemishes or bruises.
  • Grocery stores and farmers markets usually offer a handful of varieties and most can be enjoyed raw or cooked. Bosc pears have firm flesh that’s particularly suited to cooking, while Comice pears are very juicy, so they’re best enjoyed raw.

How to store pears

  • Leave pears at room temperature so they can ripen. Some pears will change color, but the best way to check for ripeness is to gently squeeze the neck end. If it yields to pressure, the pear should be ripe. If the rest of the pear is already soft, the texture may be mushy or mealy.
  • To ripen pears more quickly, store them in a paper bag with an apple. Apples release ethylene gas, which will speed up the ripening process,
  • Once ripe, pears can be held in the refrigerator, where they’ll last four to five days. Ripe pears are fairly delicate and bruise easily, so handle them gently.

Give your cocktails a twist with pears

How to prep pears

  • Pears can be easily stripped with a vegetable peeler but there’s a lot of nutrition in their skin, so you may want to leave it on.
  • Use a melon baller to quickly remove the cores and stems from the pears.

Pear recipes

Jamie Oliver's pear tarte tatin

Four-spice pear, apple and blackberry crisp