THE RED SENSATION – known also as “Max Red,” was first discovered as a bud sport on a standard Yellow Bartlett tree near Zillah, Washington in 1938. A “bud sport” is a rare, naturally occurring transformation that develops spontaneously on fruit trees. The Red Sensation was then cultivated by pear growers, resulting in today’s large crop.

Called “Summer pears” because of the time of year in which their harvest begins, Red Sensation pears are similar in shape and texture to Yellow Bartletts. Offering differing floral aromas and a supple sweetness, Summer Reds add a beautiful contrast of flavor and color in fruit baskets and bowls.

These pears offer much the same great flavors as Yellow Bartletts, but their color simply adds to their appeal. Consider sliced red pears to liven up green salads or other recipes. Remember that any recipe calling for apples can be made using fresh pears.

Ripening & Storage: The skin color of the Red Sensation pear brightens as it ripens from a dark red to a brilliant red as it becomes sweeter and juicier. All pears ripen at room temperature. Only refrigerate your pears to slow the ripening process.

Poached Zinfandel Red Pear –  4 large ripe Red Sensation Pears (cored from the bottom, leaving stem intact), 1-1/2 c. white zinfandel or rosé wine, 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, or 1 t. vanilla, 1/3 c. sugar, 4 t. honey.

Slice bottoms of cored pears to allow them to stand upright. Stand pears in the bottom of a large saucepan; add wine and vanilla bean, or liquid vanilla. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 10-15 minutes, until pears are tender. Using a slotted spoon, transfer pears to four dessert dishes. Add sugar to liquid in pan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 12 minutes or until liquid is reduced to 2/3 cup and is the consistency of a thin sauce. Spoon over pears. Drizzle honey on top. Serve warm or chilled.

Make Ahead Tip: Place prepared pears and syrup in a covered bowl and chill up to 4 hours. Place into dessert dishes and drizzle with honey just before serving.

Summer Sun Peaches — In China, where peaches originated, the peach supposedly brings luck, abundance and protection Wild peaches traveled widely and developed into many strains. The peach spread to the New World on Spanish explorers’ ships. Several tribes of Native American Indians were particularly fond of peaches. In the 1800’s, Georgia was named “the Peach State” for its abundant output. During the Gold Rush, the demand for peaches in California outweighed their availability, prompting the planting of peach orchards in the Golden State. Today, California is the major producer of U.S. peaches, followed by South Carolina, then Georgia.

This fruit is great eaten out of hand — just wash thoroughly and rub with a paper towel to remove the fuzz. Sliced or chopped peaches will discolor; toss with lemon juice to retard browning. They are wonderful in salads, smoothies, and lend themselves to a myriad of recipes.

Ripening & Storage: Peaches are easily bruised so handle carefully. To ripen, store in a paper bag in a single layer. When ripe, store in the refrigerator for up to a week depending on the degree of ripeness. For full succulence, bring them to room temperature, then enjoy both the flavor and aroma!

Peaches & Yogurt –  Here’s a wholesome, quick and easy version of Peaches and Cream! Serves 4 – 6 2 C. Plain nonfat yogurt, 1/2 t. Vanilla, 1/4 t. Nutmeg, 1-1/2 T. Honey, 4 large or 5 medium sliced peaches,  (Wash and remove fuzz by rubbing with a paper towel prior to slicing), 1/4 C. Walnuts, chopped, Mint sprigs for garnish.

In a medium bowl, mix together yogurt, vanilla, nutmeg and honey. Stir well to distribute the honey evenly. Stir in a few peach slices and mash to release the juices. Add remainder of peaches and walnuts. Stir to combine. Garnish with sprigs of mint.

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