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Sunday, January 02, 2005

All About Pears

Summer is fruit season. But one special fruit is in all it's glory in the wintertime--pears.

Pears are one of the world's oldest cultivated fruits. They probably originated in Asia but they have been cultivated in Europe since at least 2000 BC. In France, Louis XIV popularized pears by proclaiming them his favorite fruit. The pear was later introduced into the New World by the colonists.

There are thousands of varieties of pears. Pear trees are can last 50 to 75 years, and anyone who has grown a pear tree knows that the fruit only ripens off the tree.

Doyenne du Comice means "top of show" and has gained the reputation as the best tasting pear. It was first produced in France in 1849. It is a pale green-yellow fruit with pinkish-red flushing. It it juicy, sweet and almost buttery flavored. It must be cross pollinated with a Bosc or Bartlett.

The largest varieties of Comice are often sold at Christmas time. We got a box of them from some friends and have been enjoying them for dessert. Harry and David call their Doyenne du Comice the "Royal Riviera" .

The best ways to eat Comice pears are:

* Sliced in green salads

* Cut into chunks in fruit salad

* Serve raw grated into muesli with yogurt

* With blue cheese such as Gorgonzola or Stilton

* With creamy cheeses such as Camembert or Brie

* Thinly sliced added to a grilled cheese and ham sandwich