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Ingredient of the week: Pears

Cardamom Cranberry Pear Crisp is just one of the ways to enjoy pears this fall. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)

The Seattle Kitchen Show staff have been enjoying the wide variety of red Bartlett, Bosc, Anjou, and Asian pears that have been making their way to grocery stores in recent weeks.

“Frankly, if someone were to ask me what’s my favorite pear,” says co-host Tom Douglas, “I would always say ‘the ripest one’ because it’s so hard to find a ripe pear sometimes.”

If you don’t happen to find a perfectly ripe pear in stores it can be hard to figure out what to do with your pears short of patiently waiting for them to ripen on the windowsill for three or four days, like co-host Thierry Rautureau does.

And some pears never get soft. Asian pears, for example, are more like a pear-flavored apple.

Tom Douglas recommends cutting these harder pears up in a pear salad or poaching them, which is one of Tom’s favorite ways to enjoy the variety of fall pears.

Katie O and Thierry also love cooking pears, topping them with anything sweet they might have in the house.

“That tends to be what I do with my pears when they’re not quite ripe is baking them and putting some sort of – even streusel if you’ve got that kicking around in the freezer, and then just topping that off and then sticking it in the oven,” says Katie.

Thierry loves to crumble graham crackers, honey, and nuts over pears before baking.

Pears that are overly ripe, on the other hand, can be salvaged in a pear sauce, sorbet, jams, and even as a substitute ingredient in spiced banana or pumpkin bread.

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