Doeden: Nutritious pears serve up jolt of Vitamin C in winterThis time of year, you’ll usually find pears in the fruit drawer of my refrigerator.
This time of year, you’ll usually find pears in the fruit drawer of my refrigerator.
A crisp and juicy pear is a welcome midday snack eaten out of hand. Besides their buttery sweet flavor, it’s the versatility and adaptability in the kitchen that I most appreciate about pears.
They can go sweet or savory – baked into cakes, tarts and quick breads or tossed into salads and baked alongside meat.
A good source of dietary fiber, pears have been found to contain heart-healthy nutrients. And during this season of colds and flu, we can all use some of the Vitamin C pears have to offer.
I’ve discovered that baking pears in a mixture of honey, lemon juice, olive oil and vanilla produces a caramel-colored delicacy. Just as roasting vegetables magnifies their sweetness, the same thing happens with pears. They develop a depth of flavor that is remarkably different than that of a raw pear.
When you plan to roast pears, you’ll have the best results by selecting fruit that is firm and fragrant with a little give when gently pressed with a thumb. Under-ripe pears will take a long time to bake, and pears that are too ripe will simply disintegrate during roasting time, losing their appealing shape. Remind the person packing your groceries to be gentle with the pears – they are a delicate fruit and bruise easily.
Roasting pears bubbling with honey and lemon juice will send a magnificent fragrance wafting through your house. Keep an eye on the amount of liquid caramelizing in the bottom of the baking dish. If the amber-colored liquid bubbles away, the pears will begin to burn and turn bitter. Add an extra tablespoon of water at a time, as needed.
Honey-Glazed Roasted Pears are proof that a delicious and eye-appealing dessert does not need to be labor intensive. The glaze can be mixed, the pears cut in half and cored and you can slide the dish into the oven in no time. Allow at least 45 minutes for oven time.
The tender, warm pears can be served as an impressive dessert with a dollop of sweetened whipped cream or a small scoop of ice cream or frozen yogurt.
If you have pears remaining, refrigerate for another time. Chop them and stir the sweet chunks into a bowl of hot oatmeal. Mash a pear half and spread it on a toasted English muffin or a bran muffin with a drizzle of honey.
The chilled and sliced Honey-Glazed Pears are well-suited to sit alongside cheese and walnut halves on a platter as an appetizer. Those same chilled slices are amazing served on a salad of fresh greens with toasted nuts and dots of your favorite blue cheese.
Honey-Glazed Roasted Pears are a treat you’ll want to take advantage of before the pear season comes to an end. Make lots. You’ll be amazed at all the different ways you will find to use them – sweet or savory, any time of the day.
Sue Doeden is a food writer and photographer from Bemidji, Minn., and a former Fargo resident. Her columns are published in 10 Forum Communications newspapers.