VICTORY GARDENS: On Where To Find And What To Do With Autumn’s Awesome Pears
by Lisa Giroday, Sandra Lopuch and Sam Philips | It’s all about fall fruit at the moment. Who doesn’t appreciate biting into a crisp, tart apple (see last week’s post), or a sweet and perfectly ripe pear? There are two main classifications of pear – European and Asian. European pears are soft, buttery and juicy, and have a typical “pear” shape (or, in botanical terms, a “pyriform” shape). Asian pears are crisp, juicy and sweet, and often milder in flavour; they are typically apple-shaped, or “pomiform”. Pears, like apples, are a human-survival-staple and super-storage food, as they store well and sustain us through winter. Remember to refrain from putting these gems in the fridge – a pear is best at room temperature – which equates to more space in the cooling unit for what needs to be there, right? If the pears you scored at the farmers market could stand to ripen more, store them on the counter in a re-used paper bag, and they will come along nicely.
Pears are so awesome for biting right into, baking with, and in salads – they pair favorably with bitter greens, such as endive and mizuna, and they are excellent next to walnuts and almonds, not to mention cheeses, especially the blue-veined kinds, like Stilton and Morbier.
Where to find: The remaining Vancouver Farmers Markets are currently loaded with vendors selling pears.
Here we have a recipe for baked pears, a simple dessert when having guests over for dinner…
Marsala Wine Baked Pears (serves 6 lucky individuals):
6 medium Bosc pears
1 ½ cups Marsala wine
¼ cup local honey
Pinch or two of cinnamon to taste (optional)
Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Slice off the bottom of each pear, so that the pears will sit flat when upright in a dish, and so they will be nice and snug with their pear neighbors. No fuss, no muss – no need to core or peel these babies. Pour Marsala over pears, and then drizzle with honey. Bake pears for an hour, basting them in their delicious juices every 15 minutes. You’ll know they’re done once they look golden and caramelized, and you can easily pierce them with a fork. Serve each pear drizzled with some baking juice, then add a dollop of mascarpone, crème fraiche, or drizzle with chocolate ganache-y goodness.
Victory Gardens is a team of local urban farmers for hire. Lisa, Sandra and Sam help transform tired or underused residential and commercial green spaces into food producing gardens. Their goal is to challenge the way communities use space and to participate in the change needed to consume food more sustainably. For the rest of the growing season, they’ve hooked up with Scout to share some cool tips and tricks on how to get the best from of our own backyards.