Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

Pear Panache

PerasSink your teeth in a pear and the taste of soft buttery flesh with somewhat grainy texture overwhelms your palate. Pears are one of the oldest cultivated and beloved fruits. Greek poet Homer lauds pears as “gift of the gods.”
Pears are members of the rose family and related to the apple and the quince. Pears generally have a large round bottom that tapers towards the top. Depending upon the variety, their paper-thin skins can either be yellow, green, brown, red or a combination of two or more of these colors. Like apples, pears have a core that features several seeds.

Nutritional profile

 

  •  Pears are an excellent source of fibre. An average pear provides 6 grams, which amounts to 24% of the dietary allowance of dietary fibre of which 41% is pectin. As we all know fibre has no calories and is an essential prerequisite for a healthy diet, it helps sustain blood sugar levels and promotes regularity. Pectin is a type of soluble fiber that binds to fatty substances in the digestive tract and promotes their elimination. This seems to help lower blood cholesterol levels. Soluble fiber also helps regulate the body’s use of sugars.
    Studies indicate that diets high in fiber may reduce the risk of heart disease and certain types of cancer.
  •  How do pears rank on the Glycemic Index? Pears have 26 net grams of carbohydrates. The carbohydrates in a pear are low on the glycemic index and have a low glycemic load. This basically means that the carbs in pears are slow to convert to sugar and enter the bloodstream. Pears are a good choice for getting healthy carbs

 

  •  Fights free radicals. Fresh pears are a good source for Vitamin C and copper. One fresh pear contains 10% of the RDA for Vitamin C (also called ascorbic acid). Both of these nutrients can be thought of as antioxidant nutrients that help protect cells in the body from oxygen-related damage due to free radicals.
  • Vitamin C functions as an antioxidant in all water-soluble areas of the body, and in addition to its antioxidant activity, is critical for good immune function. Vitamin C stimulates white cells to fight infection, directly kills many bacteria and viruses, and regenerates Vitamin E (an antioxidant that protects fat-soluble areas of the body) after it has been inactivated by disarming free radicals. 
  •  Manages hypertension. Fresh pears offer 5% of the recommended daily allowance (190 mg of potassium) per serving.
    The mineral potassium is an important electrolyte needed for proper heart, nerve and muscle function. It also helps regulate water and electrolyte levels as well as helps maintain carbohydrate and protein metabolism.

If you are faced with a bunch of hard pears, follow this easy 1, 2, 3 process to get your pears to their ripe and juicy perfection.

1. Place hard pears in a paper bag or a covered fruit bowl, leave at room temperature.
2. Every day check the neck of the pear to detect its ripeness. To do this, apply gentle pressure to the stem end of the pear with your thumb. When it yields to the pressure, it’s ready to eat (this process usually takes a few days).
Enjoy your ripe, juicy pears now, or store them in the fridge until you’re ready to use them. The fridge will slow down the ripening process, but won’t stop it. Ready to eat pears will stay fresh in the fridge for between 3-5 days.
If you have not tried your hands on poached pear before, go ahead with this delicious recipe.

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