Nov. 09, 2020

Anjou Pears Gain Year-round Popularity

Pears, pears, pears! The year-round availability of fresh Pacific Northwest pear varieties is one of the luxuries we do not take for granted. As we dive into grocery store pear availability, we have noticed a shift from the classic Bartlett pear to the new fan favorite, Anjou (pronounced ON-ju) pears! Specifically, Green Anjous.

Green Anjou pears, also known as Green D’Anjous, are found to be most recognizable by their egg-shaped appearance. They are shorter and rounder than other pear varieties and do not drastically change colors when ripening like a Bartlett pear. Their skin color is bright green, and sometimes have a soft red blush.

Harvest for Green Anjou pears begins in the fall, and they arrive in produce departments in late September or early October. They are the most common variety to be found all summer long! Anjou pears are versatile in flavor, making them great for culinary applications. It is excellent when eaten fresh, but it is also adaptable for baking, roasting, and slicing fresh into salads—Anjou pear partners well with various flavors, from white wines to rich Stout beers. Serve Anjou pears on a cheese platter along with goat cheese, brie, and parmesan cheese crisps. According to USA Pears, many professional chefs choose to use the Anjou pear in their menus because of its nearly year-round availability and its versatility in culinary uses.

As mentioned before, one of the most important things to note about Anjou pears is how they ripen. Ripen Anjou pears at room temperature. Depending on their level of ripeness when purchased, Anjou pears may take between three and five days to become fully ripe. Once ripe, you can store them in the refrigerator, where the ripening process will be slowed for a few more days.

Here is how USA Pears suggests checking pear ripeness:

Check the Neck for Ripeness™ daily by gently pressing your thumb near the stem end of the pear. When it gives slightly, the pear is ripe.

Why do you "Check the Neck?" Because pears ripen from the inside out, the neck is the narrowest part of the pear, closest to the core. If you wait for the pear's more comprehensive bottom half to become soft to the touch, you'll find the inside to be over-ripe. When that happens, though the mouthfeel may not be perfect for eating fresh, this is the ideal time for your super-ripe pear to be pureed into a tasty smoothie!

Check out the pear varieties available next time you're in the produce section! You may find this new kid on the block, who will also be your year-round favorite!