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Ingredient Fri Oct 03 2008

Pears

bartlettsmall.jpgAn apple isn't fussy. It's ready to eat as soon as it's picked and can be stored at room temperature for a bit, or under refrigeration for months.

But a pear is persnickety. A pear makes you work for it.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "There are only 10 minutes in the life of a pear when it is perfect to eat."

A pear starts to be difficult before it is even off the tree. Because pears ripen from the inside out, they cannot be left on the tree until soft to the touch; the inside would be too far gone by then. So they must be picked firm and allowed to ripen off the tree. This can take weeks.

Once they're ready, the window of opportunity -- especially for a soft pear such as the Bartlett -- can be disappointingly narrow. Refrigeration will slow the ripening process. Consider placing a few in the fridge and a few on the counter, to stagger when your pears will be ready to eat.

You're likely to see a handful of pear varieties at farmers markets this fall. The Bartlett -- perhaps the most familiar pear -- will be susceptible to bruising when it's soft and ripe, but some brown spots are fine as long as the skin is not pierced. Harder pears such as the Bosc will remain crunchy even when ripe. They're a good choice for cooking, since they'll hold their shape.

Served with blue cheese, a pear is a perfect snack, lunch or dessert.

 
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The State of Food Writing

By Brandy Gonsoulin

In 2009, food blogging, social media and Yelp were gaining popularity, and America's revered gastronomic magazine Gourmet shuttered after 68 years in business. Former Cook's Illustrated editor-in-chief Chris Kimball followed with an editorial, stating that "The shuttering of Gourmet reminds...
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Drive-Thru is the food and drink section of Gapers Block, covering the city's vibrant dining, drinking and cooking scene. More...
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