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Pears are delicious fruits that are produced and consumed globally. Because of their taste, nutrient content, and varieties, they are popular to eat in all major cultures around the world. In fact, pears are one of the most popular fruits in the world (Reiland, 2015). In the northern hemisphere, these fruits are usually harvested in the late summer as we approach October. Did you know that in the United States the Bartlett is the most popular pear variety? Globally, there are over three thousand varieties of pears grown for various uses.
Pears have an ancient history and there is even evidence that our prehistoric ancestors grew and consumed pears as part of their meals. These delicious fruits are low in calories and high in nutrients such as magnesium, fiber, sugar, proteins, potassium, carbohydrates, and vitamins. The pear tree is also versatile as not only does it provide edible fruits, the wood hearty and can be used to make furniture and kitchen utensils.
The article will help you learn some of the most popular varieties of pears available in the United States. You also get to find out the advantages of eating pears over apples or any other fruit.
Health Benefits of Pears
Eating pears will help you to enjoy many valuable health benefits. Here are some of the most common benefits of eating pear (Wartenberg, 2019):
- Fight Free Radicals: Pears contain many antioxidants and nutrients such as vitamin C and magnesium, which help protect body cells from being damaged by free radicals. Excess free radical growth in the body can convert food nutrients into uncontrolled energy that may result in cancer growth. Eating pears will help protect you against the dangers of free radicals (Li, 2012).
- Good for Heart Health: Eating pears can reduce the risk of heart disease by helping to lower bad cholesterol while also increasing good cholesterol in the body. Pear peels contain quercetin, which has been shown to reduce inflammation. Quercetin also reduces the risk of high blood pressure and helps to stabilize proper cholesterol levels in the body (Patel, 2018).
- Good for Digestion: Pears contain soluble and insoluble fiber, which are vital components of digestion. With improved digestion, you will reduce the chances of constipation, having loose stool, and diarrhea.
- Can Help With Weight Loss: Pears contain low calories, high fiber, and high water content. This makes for a healthy, weight-reducing combination. Consuming this fruit will make you feel fuller for longer due to the fiber content. With pears, you can reduce your overall caloric intake, which will lead to weight loss.
Common Varieties of U.S. Pears
Globally, there are around 3,000 types of pears, varying in size, crispness, shape, and sweetness. The most common types of pears found in the United States include:
The Green Anjou pear is popularly known for its egg-shaped appearance. The fruit is spherical in the lower portion, starting with a tapered shape from top to bottom. They have bright green skin that has a red blush. After ripening, the pears turn yellow. Green Anjou is mostly available in the summer season, which mainly falls in September and the beginning of October.
Red Bartlett pears are the only type of pears with an actual shape of the pear half tapered with large round bottom and a small neck with a slender stem. Their skin is dark maroon, and when ripening, they turn to light red. The fruits are available during the winter season.
Bartlett pears are the most commonly consume pears in the USA. They are green-yellow in color and have a taste and texture similar to the Red Bartlett. This makes it possible to swap red Bartlett pears with regular Bartlett pears in recipes.
Red Anjou is easily recognized by its egg-like shape with a large bottom and a taper around the mid-point that transitions to a small round top.
Bosc pears are known for their long and curved stem; their neck widens round to the bottom. Their skin is usually green, and when ripe, it turns yellow. However, the neck does not change color after ripening. The Bosc pears are available from late September all through up to April.
Comice pears are known for their short neck. They are green, and after ripening, they turn yellow. The pears are available during the winter season. Comice pears are recognized as charisma pears since they are mostly placed as stars in Christmas gifts.
Forelle pears are one of the smallest varieties of pears. They have a little round bottom and evenly taper to their short neck. They have red freckling that appears on their green skin and turns yellow when ripening. Forelle pears are available from September all through to January.
They are known for their crimson red color, thick stem, and smooth texture on their skin. They change from deep crimson red to bright crimson red, and their skin becomes softer as they ripen.
They are the smallest variety of pears and have a round body with a little neck and a short stem. They have olive-green skin, which at times has a dark maroon blush. The color usually covers the pear's whole surface.
Advantages of Pears vs. Apples and Other Fruits
Why should I eat pears over apples is a question frequently asked by many. Pears have excellent benefits to help you lead a healthy life, just like the apple (Kweller, 2020). However, some of the advantages the pear has over its fruity counterpart include:
Great for Cooking
Adding pears to your food will make the meal more delicious. You can add pears to various meals such as roasting pears with your bacon, adding them to your coffee cake, putting them on your salad, and blending them into smoothies. Ripe pears are soft and can be easily added to recipes like cakes and other baked goods. Combining them with meals will ultimately lead to a healthy and enjoyable meal. Those who love apples may want to consider trying something new by choosing a pear over apples or any other fruit.
More Vitamins and Minerals
In general, pears contain more zinc, copper, magnesium, calcium, and iron nutrients than apples and other fruits. After comparing the vitamin components between the apples and pears, you find out that the pears have a higher percentage of Vitamin B3 and Vitamin K. These vitamins will help you lower cholesterol levels and help in blood clotting. The high amount of vitamins and minerals is advantageous in maintaining a healthy lifestyle when compared to taking other fruits.
The pear is a very delicious and nutritious fruit. It has many health benefits to the body, such as aiding in digestion and helping you with a weight loss journey. Pears are available in many varieties; hence, you will be able to choose the one you enjoy most for any occasion. And as the old saying goes, “A pear a day will keep the doctor away.”
References and Further Reading
Kweller, Amy. “Everything There is To Know About Pear Nutrition.” January 30, 2020. <https://usapears.org/articles/everything-there-is-to-know-about-pear-nutrition/>
Li X, Zhang JY, Gao WY, Wang Y, Wang HY, Cao JG, Huang LQ. Chemical composition and anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activities of eight pear cultivars. J Agric Food Chem. 2012 Sep 5;60(35):8738-44. doi: 10.1021/jf303235h. Epub 2012 Aug 23. PMID: 22880800.
Patel RV, Mistry BM, Shinde SK, Syed R, Singh V, Shin HS. Therapeutic potential of quercetin as a cardiovascular agent. Eur J Med Chem. 2018 Jul 15;155:889-904. doi: 10.1016/j.ejmech.2018.06.053. Epub 2018 Jun 27. PMID: 29966915.
Reiland H, Slavin J. Systematic Review of Pears and Health. Nutr Today. 2015; 50, 301-305.
Wartenberg, Lisa. “9 Health and Nutrition Benefits of Pears.” Healthline Media. July 12, 2019. <https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/benefits-of-pears>
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2021 Christopher Wanamaker