Nina’s Tips & Techniques: Local Harvest featuring Pears

What is the best way to get the core out of a pear?

There’s no trick here – sorry! I just quarter them and then use a paring knife to cut the cores out. A knife should slide easily through a perfectly ripe pear!

To peel or not to peel?

Oh I love pear skin – I vote peel-on! BUT there is a time and place for a peeled pear – like if you are roasting or poaching; the skins tend to get rubbery when cooked.

How do I get hard pears to ripen? Do they go in the refrigerator?

Pears are generally sold in the grocery store in the refrigerated section because once they are ripe they tend to get soft and dented very easily. Keeping them cold will keep them from ripening too quickly. However, while most people assume warmer temps would help pears ripen quicker; they actually ripen best at around 65 degrees. Placing pears in your cellar or a cool, dark pantry will help them ripen better than in the warmth of your kitchen. A cool, damp climate is more like the natural conditions in which they grow, and thus helps their sugars develop more fully.

Featured Recipe: Deep-Dark Gingerbread with Caramelized Pears and Vanilla Whipped Cream