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It’s uncertain whether Bosc pears are Belgium or French in origin. What is known is that Bosc Pears were discovered sometime in the early 1800’s. At that time, the European convention for naming pears was to use a two-name system, where the first name identified a characteristic of the fruit, and the second name referenced its origin. Buerré Bosc identifies the fruit as “buttery” and named after M. Bosc who was the director of the Paris Botanical Garden at the time.

This is an elegant variety, with a crunchy yet tender flesh and sweet-spiced flavor. Contrary to some beliefs, Bosc pears do not need to be peeled to enjoy. They are delicious eaten out of hand, skin and all, and are ideal for use in baking, broiling and poaching.

RIPENING: Bosc pears are sweeter and more flavorful earlier in the ripening process than other pears. As a result, their complex flavor, honey-sweetness, and juiciness can be enjoyed before their flesh has fully softened. Remember this when determining when Bosc are ripe. Check with gentle thumb pressure applied near the stem. However, keep in mind that they will “give” less than other pears. There may be a slight wrinkling at the base and minimal color change as they ripen. Ripen at room temperature; refrigerate only after pears are ripe.

Cinnamon Baked Bosc Pears Serve warm or chilled for a luscious low-fat dessert. 1/2 t. ground cinnamon, 1/4 C. white wine, Pinch ground white pepper (optional), 1/2 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise, 2 firmly ripe Bosc Pears, 1-1/2 T. lemon juice, 2 T. sugar, 1 t. nonhydrogenated vegan margarine, cut into 4 pieces, 2 T. pine nuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 400°, one rack in top position, one in the middle. Combine wine, cinnamon and pepper in an 8-inch square dish. Scrape vanilla bean seeds into wine mixture and add scraped pod.

Place pears cut side up in baking dish. Pour lemon juice over, excess will spill over. Sprinkle with sugar. Top each pear half with a margarine piece. Cover pan with foil, place on middle rack and bake 30 minutes or until tender. Remove foil. Turn oven to broil and shift baking pan to top rack. Broil 5 minutes or until lightly browned.

Meanwhile, toast pine nuts in skillet over medium heat, shaking pan frequently, 4 to 5 minutes, or until lightly browned. Transfer pears to serving plates, drizzle with pan juice and sprinkle with pine nuts.

One of the most popular new varieties in the United States, Honeycrisp is the apple that everyone raves about! These apples were discovered in 1960 as part of the University of Minnesota’s apple breeding program. Researcher David Bedford used traditional cross-pollination methods to develop the now-infamous Honeycrisp. It was destined to be thrown out, but he saved it from being discarded.

The parentage of Honeycrisp is not totally known. The original patent for the cultivar listed it as a cross between Macoun and Honey-gold, but that was debunked in 2004 after a DNA test showed Keepsake and an unknown numbered variety to be its parents.

Its creamy white flesh breaks apart easily, meaning that you might have to endure a few bruises in order to eat its juicy, sweet “meat,” with its unique texture that fractures cleanly with each bite. Its taste is well worth it!

Honeycrisp Chop Salad Serve proudly to Sunday guests and for family dinners!  2 C. Honeycrisp apples, cored and chopped, 4 C. Broccoli florets, chopped (about 1-1/2 pounds), 1 C. Seedless red grapes, quartered, 1/4 C. Red onion, finely diced, 1/2 C. Sunflower seeds, roasted and unsalted, 1/2 C. Orange juice, freshly squeezed, 1 t. Apple cider vinegar, Pinch of Kosher salt

Combine apple, broccoli, grapes, onion and sunflower seeds in a large bowl and set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together orange juice and apple cider vinegar. Add a pinch of salt, to taste. Pour dressing over apple-broccoli salad and toss to combine. Serve immediate.

A Kitchen Hint:  There is nothing more refreshing looking than the gleaming white or soft cream color of fresh fruit. To prevent the flesh of an apple or a pear from discoloring, soak the cut fruit in a saltwater solution of 1/2 teaspoon salt (kosher or regular table salt) for each cup of water, for 10 minutes. Then drain and store in an airtight plastic bag for up to 30 minutes, until you are ready to add the fruit pieces to your recipe. (You may want to rid all trace of the salt taste by rinsing with plain tap water.)

No salt handy? Let your apple or pear pieces rest in a solution of 1 quart of water to which 3 tablespoons of lemon juice has been added.

No salt or lemon juice in your kitchen? Simply submerging the fruit slices or pieces in plain water also is effective, as the water reduces the amount of air/oxygen that can get to the fruit, and brown it.

In any case, the pieces of apple or pear may float. Simple keep the fruit submerged by placing a wet paper towel on top.

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Tracie Burket
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