Pears

Pears

PearsPears are fruits which have are widely used in a variety of dishes. They can be eaten as a whole, or they provide a great taste to desserts, pies and fruit salads. Besides the fact that pears are versatile in their use, they also provide many health benefits. This article will address these health benefits, as well as its risks. It will also be addressed how to store the fruit best.

Description

Pears are part of the rose family of plants, which is called the Rosaceae. Besides the fact that roses and pears belong to this family, there are many other fruits which belong to this family as well. For example, apples, strawberries, peaches and many other are also part of this family. While there are many different types of pears to be found all over the world, they commonly belong to the type called the European pear. The official name of this type of pear is called pyrus communis. This type of pear distinguishes itself from others since it has a rounded body with a neck that can have varying lengths. Another type of pears are called pear apples. This fruit is round but does not have a neck, like the European pear. The reason why they are called pear apples is because their shape reminds of an apple, however the skin of the fruit makes us think of pears. Moreover, while many people think that apple pears are a cross between apples and pears, this is not the case. Apple pears are referred to as Asian pear and are a second category of pears. Pears can be found in a range of colours. They can have a green, brown, red or yellow colour. Most of the pears do not change their colour when they ripen. This makes it difficult to determine whether a pear is fully ripe or not. The two most famous types of pears are the Bartlett and the Bosc pears. The Bartlett, also referred to as Williams pears, are speckled and have a green colour. This is also the type of pear which is used for canned pears. Bartlett pears can also have a red colour. This type of pear has a different flavour compared to the green variant of this fruit. The Bosc pears are darker compared to the Bartlett pears and have a cinnamon colour. The necks of the Bosc pears are also longer compared to the necks of the Bartlett pears. Also, the flavour of this type of pear can be compared to honey.

History

There has been a lot of discussion about the origins of pears. While the use of pears has been evident since prehistoric times, it is difficult to determine the exact location where the fruit was found first. Different traces have been found around Lake Zurich in Switzerland. It is also said that pears were cultivated by Romans. Romans ate the fruit raw, and also used it for cooking. A Roman cookbook called De Re Coquinaria includes a recipe for stewed pears. There has also been evidence that certain types of pears were first found in Africa. In the 16th century, European colonist brought pears from Africa and Europe to Northern America since pears did not grow by that time in the United States. Shortly after pears had been introduced in the United States, the cultivation of pears in this region started. However, while cultivation started, the European colonist continued to import the fruit to the US. The main exporter of the fruit was France. While the US continues to import tons of pears each year, the main exporters are not China, Argentina, Chile and South Korea. Currently, China is the number one producer of pears in the world. From the 20 million tons of pears produced worldwide, China produces over 15 million tons. Europe produces an average of 3 million tons. The remaining two million tons are produced by South Korea, Argentina, Chile and a few other countries.

Health benefits

Pears contain many vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and many other benefiting nutrients. One of these nutrients is dietary fiber. Fiber is known for having a positive influence on the digestive system. Moreover, different researches have proven that consuming fiber regularly can provide protection against colon cancer. This is due to the fact that fiber binds itself to toxins and chemicals which could cause cancer. By binging itself to these components, fiber protects the cells from getting in contact with these compounds. Additionally, pears are also low in calories. An average size pear contains about 60 calories. The fruit is thus high in fiber and low in calories, which makes it a great fruit for people who want to control their body weight and those who want to control their cholesterol levels. Also, the fruit is a source of vitamin C. One pear provides 7% of you recommended daily intake of vitamin C. The combination of vitamin C with anti-oxidants, and other vitamins, protects the body from harmful free radicals. Another health benefit of pears is that they are among the least allergenic fruits. It is for this reason that pears are often recommended by health practitioners as an alternative to apples, for example, when people are allergic to them. Pears have also played an important role in traditional medicines. For example, people who suffer from arthritis are commonly recommended to eat pears.


Health risks

While pears provide many health benefits, they do not necessarily provide health benefits to everyone. While they might be recommended to people who are diagnosed with arthritis, the fruit is not recommended to people who suffer from an irritable bowel syndrome. Pears, together with apples and many other fruits, contain a higher amount of fructose compared with glucose. It is for this reason that the fruit is considered to be a high FODMAP food. FODMAP stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides Disaccharides Monosaccharides and Polyols. A diet which is high is FODMAPs can increase bloating, pain, diarrhoea and gas production. A diet which is low in these types of carbohydrates has proven that is decreases these symptoms among people who are sensitive to FODMAPs. Besides the fact that it has a positive influence on people who are sensitive to FODMAPs, a low FODMAP diet has also proven that it reduces symptoms of lethargy, fatigue and poor concentration. Thus, this implies that a low FODMAP diet does not only provide benefits to people who are diagnosed with irritable bowel syndromes, but it can also have a positive influence on people who have not been diagnosed with this disease. While pears are only one single food item of a diet, it is important to look at the overall eating pattern when achieving good health and prevention of diseases.

How to select and store

Pears are perishable once they are ripe. It is for this reason that most of the pears sold at supermarkets are not ripe yet. The ones which can be bought in the supermarket usually need a few more days before they are ready to be eaten. When buying pears in the supermarket, look for those which are firm but not hard. The ones which are hard usually need longer than just a few days to ripe. Also, the skin of the fruit should be free of mold or bruises. The colour of the pear does not have to be uniform since it is a characteristic of the fruit to be brown-speckled. When they are brown-speckled, it usually also means that the fruit has a more intense flavour. Try and avoid buying those which have dark spots, or those which are punctured. If you want to check whether a pear is ripe, you can gently press the top of the pear. Near the stem of the pear you will be able to feel whether the pear is a bit soft or whether it is extremely soft. When the fruit is extremely soft, and close to being squishy, it is not recommended to consume the fruit raw. You can use the pear in cooked recipes because during the cooking process the harmful bacteria, if present, will be killed. As with most other fruits and vegetables, it is recommended to buy those which are organic. Certified organic fruits and vegetables have a lower risk of being exposed to pesticides. If you do not want to consume pears immediately after you have bought them from the store, they can be stored in the refrigerator. They will remain fresh for a couple of days. If you want to fasten the ripening process, place the pears in a paper bag at room temperature. They should be ripe within one or two days once put in a paper bag. It is also recommended to store pears away from foods which have a strong smell. This is due to the fact that pears absorb smell easily.

Recipes with pears

As mentioned earlier, pears are a versatile fruit and can therefore be used for different purposes. The most common recipes with pears are salads, dessert or fruit-salads. A famous salad recipe is a mix of pears, cheese and bresaola. This recipe contains blue cheese, cured beef and sweet pears. This dish is recommended with a red wine vinaigrette and serves as a great refreshing salad on a summer day, or as a side dish to a barbecue. Another recipe is the combination of pear and ginger in a cake. The dessert, which is a combination of a ginger cake and sticky toffee pudding, tastes great when served with cream or ice cream. A traditional British recipe is the pear and blackberry crostata. This pie is filled with sweet pears and blackberries. It is usually served warm with custard, cream or ice cream. Pears also serve as a great addition to a fruit-salad. The combination of pears, apples, oranges, strawberries and grapes serves as a great snack on a hot summer night. The fruit-salad can be served with yoghurt, or fresh orange juice. Pear can also be added to smoothies. It is possible to freeze pre-cut pears so that you only take out those pieces you need for your healthy breakfast smoothie.





                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

Article written by: SarahAjaoud
Times read: 967x
Added: 13-10-2016 14:12
Last modified: 01-11-2016 22:45

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