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It's hard to improve on the flavor of a soft, juicy raw pear, but combine it with blue cheese or prosciutto, and you'll have something truly divine.  You can also bake or poach pears, or use them to make tarts.  They become soft and fragile when they're ripe, so grocers want you to buy them while they're still hard and then ripen them at home for a few days.  Putting them in a paper bag speeds up the process.  They're ready to eat when the base yields slightly to pressure from your thumb.   


Equivalents:  1 pound = 3 pears 



Anjou pear = d'Anjou pear   

Pronunciation:  AWN-jew

These economical pears aren't as tasty as some of the other varieties, but they're still good for both eating and cooking.  The peel stays light green even when the pear is ripe.  

Bartlett pear = Williams pear  

These are very juicy and great for eating out of hand.  They turn yellow when ripe.  

Bosc pear  

This firm and crunchy pear is the best choice for cooking, because it holds its shape nicely.  Bosc pears can also be eaten out of hand.  

California sugar pear

This small pear is the same size as a Seckel pear, but it's not as juicy and sweet.

Comice pear   

Pronunciation:  kuh-MEES  

These juicy pears are considered to be the best for eating out of hand, but they're very expensive.  

d'Anjou pear  See Anjou pear.

French butter pear  

red Anjou pear   

Very similar to a green Anjou pear.


red Bartlett pear   

This tastes just like a yellow Bartlett, but it's more attractive and more expensive.

red cascade pear

Seckel pear = sugar pear 

These are small pears with red and green skins.  They're very sweet and juicy and they'd be absolutely perfect if only the skins weren't a bit too thick.

Starkrimson pear

Taylor's Gold pear

Williams pear  See Bartlett pear.

Winter Nellis pear

These are especially good for baking.

Copyright 1996-2005  Lori Alden