Pears-Check the Neck

Move over Pumpkins! It’s Pear Season here in the Pacific Northwest!

Tis the season for pears. Let’s face it. Who needs pumpkins when you have pears?

That said, do you know how to choose a perfect pear? Well, if not, read on!

Because these gorgeous fruits are grown to maturity on the tree and then brought to ripeness at room temperature off the tree, it can be hard to judge whether certain varieties are ready to be eaten or not.

With a Bartlett it’s fairly straightforward, because the skin changes from green to golden, indicating ripeness. However, with others such as Bosc, Comice, and D’Anjou, it is harder to judge because the skin doesn’t change color and the flesh doesn’t soften all that much.

That’s why it’s worth mastering the “Check the Neck” technique. Developed by the USA Pears, this simple method teaches us to apply some pressure to the pear’s neck, which is also the stem end. If the pear yields to the gentle pressure, then it is sweet, ripe, and ready to eat!

It’s so worth learning quirky tips like this one, because they make grocery shopping and cooking for seasonal ingredients so much more enjoyable and successful!

For Pearfect Pears, Check the Neck!

Check the Neck Pear

As we shift from the luscious berries of summer into the more robust fruits of fall, I’d like to put in a plug for the humble pear. I know many folks favor apples at this time of year. I certainly serve a lot of them at my house. Nonetheless, there is something delightfully earthy and comforting about a pear.  They taste great on their own. They are flavorful and elegant with cheese. They work great in cozy homey desserts like tarts, crumbles, and cobblers.  They can, however, be tricky to judge for ripeness.

Have you ever bought a pear, carted it home, sliced it open and found it to be rock hard and taste less? Or, have you sliced it open only to find that it has gone bad from the inside out? Well, thanks to USA Pears, which is the Pear Bureau Northwest, I learned to tackle those problems a few years ago. On their website, they feature a tricky and successful method for checking a pear for ripeness. You simply “Check the Neck.”  To do so, you simply apply gentle pressure to the neck of the pear with your thumb. If it yields to pressure, it’s ripe and you are good to go!