The pears are just starting to ripen on the tress. We have two pear trees that were planted by the home’s previous owners. I’m not totally sure, but I think these pears are the Comice variety.
According to oregonfresh.net, 84% of the U.S.’s pears are grown in Washington and Oregon. The main varieties grown in Oregon are d’Anjou, Comice, and Bartlett. Comice pears tend to ripen later than most other pears and, thus, these pears have been given the nickname, “The Christmas Pear.” Perhaps our heatwaves this summer sped the ripening process?
While googling pear varieties, I learned that the best way to check a pear for ripeness is to push on the neck of the pear (by the stem) – if it feels a little soft, it’s ripe. If I let these pears sit out on the counter long enough, they’ll turn yellow and very soft, but I prefer to eat them when they’re still green and a bit firm.
I made two quick meals from the Moosewood cookbook with these pears. Both recipes paired the pears with blue cheese. I don’t think I’ve ever had blue cheese before and I didn’t think I would like it (I don’t like most cheeses). But, in fact, these were both delicious!
The first recipe was a simple cheese and pears on toast. The “cheese” part of this recipe is blue cheese mixed with cottage cheese (or ricotta or cream cheese) mixed plus toasted walnuts.
The second recipe was a waldorf salad. In addition to pears, this salad has apple, celery, raisins, and walnuts. The dressing is blue cheese with yogurt, mayo and lemon juice.
They may not look that appetizing, but don’t let their looks deceive you. The pears with the blue cheese were a perfect combination of sweet and salty. Yum yum!