7 Types of Pears (and the Best Ways to Eat Them)
Many types of pears are in season from August through October. Here are the fresh pears to look for at the farmers market or grocery store!
Bartlett pears (also called Williams) have what most people would consider the true “pear flavor.” Both red and green Bartletts are bell-shaped. You can find them in stores from September through the early months of winter. Since pears are harvested unripe, allow them to ripen at room temperature.
How to eat Bartlett pears: These sweet Bartletts are delicious when eaten fresh, and are also a top variety for canning, chutneys, and pear preserves.
This is one of the most-loved types of pears, thanks to the succulent texture and sweetness. Comice pears are sometimes called “Christmas pears” as they’re a staple of fruit gift baskets. The pears are short and round with bright green skin blushed with red, and need careful handling because of their fragile skin.
How to eat Comice pears: Comice pears are best enjoyed when served on cheese boards with soft or blue-veined cheeses.
If you see pears at the store with mottled, brown skin and a tear-drop shape, you’ve found Bosc pears. To check pears for ripeness, especially firm varieties, remember to “check the neck.” Pears ripen from the inside out, and since the necks are the narrowest part of a pear, this is the most reliable place to determine ripeness. If the flesh at the neck gives a little when pressed, the pear is ripe.
How to eat Bosc pears: Bosc pears have a sweet-tart flavor, and firm flesh that holds up well to baking.
Egg-shaped Anjou pears come in green and red varieties, and they’re especially attractive when both colors are arranged together in fruit bowls or sliced onto salads. Anjou pears have a sweet, slightly citrus flavor and are available nearly year-round.
How to eat Anjou pears: They’re a terrific all-purpose pear—just as good eaten fresh as they are baked into pies, poached, or in savory dishes like balsamic chicken.
Seckel pears are so tiny that they can be preserved whole! The skin of Seckel pears ranges from pale green to deep red, and they’re available in stores from September through February.
How to eat Seckel pears: Sweet and crunchy, they’re fun to snack on, to use as a garnish or in salads and other fresh pear recipes.
Though the term is broadly applied to several varieties, Asian pears are typically round with green or brown skin and a russeted surface. They’re sweet and very crisp, and unlike most pears, are ripe when they are firm to the touch.
How to eat Asian pears: The crunchy texture makes them a favorite for eating fresh, and they can also be used baked dishes like crisps or a gorgeous pear tart.
Concorde pears have a beautiful shape: a tapered neck and rounded bottom with bright green skin that sometimes shows a red blush. These pears are juicy and sweet, even when they’re still firm.
How to eat Concorde pears: Concordes keep their shape during cooking and baking—an attribute that’s important for recipes like poached pears.