South African pears are mainly grown in the Western Cape. Areas including Elgin, Ceres and Wolseley are particularly well known for their pear production.
South African pears are in season from February to August and are available across all major UK retailers during this time. Some of the fantastic varieties to look out for during the season are:
Forelle are oblong or bell-shaped with a distinctive pink blush, it has a sweet and juicy flavour
Williams are yellow skin when ripe, with a fragrant, sweet and juicy taste
Packhams are often unevenly shaped, green-yellow when ripe with a soft textured flesh
How to choose: When ready to eat, pears should yield to medium pressure around the stem. Yellowing at the base indicates ripeness, softness and sweetness. Since pears are very perishable once they are ripe, the pears you buy will often require a few days of maturing.
How to eat: Pears can be eaten on there own or prepared in a variety of savoury and sweet dishes. Delicious in cakes, desserts, salads and main dishes, pears can be eaten for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Click here for lots of great ideas for cooking with South African pears.
Health and nutrition:
- High in fibre
- A good source of Vitamin C (6mg per 100g) and Vitamin E (0.5mg per 100g)
- High in potassium (50mg per 100g)
- Low in fat and calories
They contain high levels of antioxidant nutrients in pears are critical in building up your immune system. The high content of pectin in pears make it very useful in helping to lower cholesterol levels and the dietary fibre they contain helps to maintain a healthy digestive system.
[Source: The Composition of Foods, sixth summary edition, by McCance and Widdowson]