One of the things I like best about fall, besides the fact that cascading cashmere is far more effective than skimpy sundresses as fat camouflage, is that the cold weather brings fabulous, fresh pears. Unlike many people, I greet the annual Harry and David shipment from Aunt Bunny with genuine enthusiasm that borders on rapture, rather than the usual “How the hell are we going to eat all these friggin’ pears?” And I want you to join me.
Here’s the skinny on pears:
For eating: Comice is by far the best. Bartlett will do (canned pears are Bartletts).
For cooking: Seckel or Bosc. They’re grainy.
Anjou can be used for either, though they’re not the absolute juiciest.
Pears are picked when they’re still quite hard and inedible, because if they’re allowed to ripen on the tree they get all mushy and nasty. Once a pear is picked, it generally takes from five to ten days to get ripe, depending on what kind it is. Refrigeration will retard ripening, but I don’t think it’s ever a good idea to put pears in the fridge – you’re playing with fire, or ice as it were – and they’ve probably already been refrigerated in transit at least once.