Latin name: Pyrus communis (cultivars include Beurre d’Anjou, Bartlett, and Beurre Bosc)
What is a Pear?
When properly ripe, a pear drips with juices and have a sweet, aromatic flesh. Members of the Rosaceae family, pears are related to apples and quinces. Pears are ripe when the flesh around neck gives in to gentle pressure; some pear varieties give off a subtle fragrant smell when ripe.
There is evidence that the pear has been used as a food since prehistoric times. It grows especially well in cool temperate climates, and is native to regions of the Old World, from Western Europe and North Africa to East Asia. It did not find true culinary flavor until the 1600s, when Louis XIV’s kitchen gardener at Versailles, Jean de la Quintinie, gave us some of the tastier, smoother varieties we have today.
What are the health benefits of Pears?
Considered cold in nature, pears are used by traditional Chinese medicine to detoxify, regenerate body fluids, dissolve mucus, quench thirst, relieve restlessness, promote urination, treat constipation, alleviate retina pain, heal skin lesions, promote overall skin health, lubricate the throat, relieve a cough, and heal a hoarse throat. In ancient Greece, pears were used to treat nausea.
Pears are an excellent source of dietary fiber and a good source of vitamin C—both of which are found in the skin. Most of the fiber is insoluble, helping pears contribute to regularity. The fiber content may also reduce risk of cancerous colon polyps. Pears are considered beneficial in lowering high blood pressure and controlling blood cholesterol levels. They are also thought to treat inflammation of mucous membranes, treat colitis, and alleviate arthritis and gout.
Where can I find Pears?
Pears can be found in grocery stores and outdoor markets in season; they are at their best at the end of autumn into winter.
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