Valley Bounty: Pears

Pears are often forced to stand just outside the spotlight shining on their fellow fall fruit and Rosaceae-family cousins, apples. I’ve written before in this column about how replete American English is with apple-based idioms and expressions, but for some reason pears don’t enjoy the same position of linguistic prominence. Wouldn’t a pear a day keep the doctor away just as well? Shouldn’t we also avoid comparing pears and oranges? Couldn’t we imagine Matt Damon’s character in Good Will Hunting asking, “How do you like them pears?”

Whether or not we all commit to adjusting our vernacular on behalf of the humble pear, we can at least offer it a spot on our tables. Besides eating them on their own, cut up with cheese and charcuterie, or baked in pies and crisps, try a classic pear recipe: peal and core some pears (I’d use a firm variety like Bosc), simmer them for 20-25 minutes in water sweetened with honey or sugar and flavored with spices like cinnamon, cardamom, and nutmeg (there are a lot of poached pear recipes online, if you want to explore different combinations people use), and serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. It’s a great fall dessert that’s sure to be the pear of your eye.

Valley Bounty is written by Brian Snell of CISA (Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture)