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Articles - A Healthy Diet:

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Pears have a lot to offer

Pears are, unfairly we think, often considered as a sort of poor relation of apples. There's actually nothing like a pear at maximum ripeness for luscious flavour. And because they have very little acidity, most people can eat them without problems. You can prepare your pears in many ways, making them sweet or savoury. They're delicious poached gently in a light syrup, maybe flavoured with spices or with citrus flavours. Try poaching whole pears in red wine and spices for a dessert that looks and tastes stunning. Or make poires belle Hélène with vanilla icecream and chocolate sauce. But pears also look and taste good as part of a cheese platter or served with game.

Health benefits and origins

Pears are packed with nutrients and beneficial substances, mostly concentrated right under the skin – provitamin A, vitamins B1, B2, C, folic acid and minerals including potassium, calcium, phosphorous and iron. Pears also contain water-soluble pectin, which is good for your digestion and supports excretion of cholesterol.

 

Like apples, pears (Pyrus communis) are top fruit and have a core. They belong to the rose family (Rosaceae) and have their origins in the wild pears that grew originally in Central and Southern Europe or maybe they arrived there even earlier from China. Worldwide there are now around 2,500 types of pear.

Shopping hints and fruit quality

Most pears are kept in special storage facilities after harvest and dispatched to the shops as required. Shop for pears with all your senses. They should look good, with smooth skins and no bruises. They should also smell good. And if you want to eat them within a day they should give slightly when you press them with a finger. Pears that feel soggy and have brown patches are overripe and to be avoided.

 

Source: Heike Kreutz, www.aid.de