There are many different and delicious types of pears, so understanding how they differ will help you pick the best one for your cooking needs and personal taste.
What Are Pears?
Pears are the pomaceous fruits that grow on pear trees, which come in a range of different species, all of which belong to the Pyrus genus. Pears typically come in an unusual shape, with a larger, more bulbous bottom and a narrower top near the stem. Pears are native to temperate areas of Europe, North Africa, and Asia, but have since spread to other parts of the world, due to the desirable fruit and its subsequent juice. There are dozens of different species of pears, each of which has certain characteristics, but they also share similar nutrient profiles. The fruit is often described as mealy, but sweet, and the juice is rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.
Types of Pears
The most common types of pears include Forelle, Concorde, Bose, Asian, French butter, Comice, Bartlett, and Anjou pears, among others.
Green Anjou pears are some of the most common on the market and have the recognizable egg shape – large bottom, tapered top. These pears are bright green but may have a tinge of red. They are notoriously juicy but have a mild flavor compared to other varieties.
These immediately recognizable pears have a long tapered neck and a bright-green color, which may fade to blushes of red when exposed to the sun. These pears hold their shape well when cooked, but are very popular in their raw form as well.
These classic pears are very hardy and are preferred for cooking, as they can often be too hard to eat raw unless they are perfectly ripe. As they ripen, many of these pears turn a golden shade.
Available in the autumn through the spring, comice pears are almost round, rather than having a classic pear shape. They also hold up well when cooked, and have a sweet flavor that makes them popular in baked goods and desserts.
These slightly slimmer and longer pears are probably the juiciest variety of these fruits but are also extremely sensitive to heat. If you don’t want your pears to turn into inedible mush, eat your Bartlett pears raw.
Closer in its consistency to an apple than a pear, Asian pears have a recognizable crunch, as well as a tan or pale yellow skin. Due to their strange apple-like consistency, they are most popular in desserts and baked goods.
These pears have a very strong pear flavor and aroma, and also have the classic pear shape. They are preferred for cooking, as they don’t break down very easily, but they do retain a very mealy consistency, regardless of how they are prepared.