February is National Sweet Potato Month. Sweet potatoes are in season in the fall, but can be stored through the winter. Sweet potatoes come in a variety of colors – white, orange, red, and even blue – but the deep orange type is the most popular. Continue reading
November is National Pear Month. Pears are in season in the fall in Virginia. There are two main types of pears- European pears, the iconic hourglass shaped green, yellow, or red pears, and Asian pears, which look more like apples with yellow-brownish skins. No matter what variety you try, perfectly ripe pears are delicious!
Pear Nutrition Facts
Pears are an excellent source of fiber, which helps reduce blood cholesterol levels and may lower risk of heart disease. They are also a good source of Vitamin C, which is important for growth and repair of all body tissues, helps heal cuts and wounds, and keeps teeth and gums healthy. Pears provide other important nutrients, including potassium to help to maintain healthy blood pressure, copper, and Vitamin K.
Pears in Virginia
Pears are related to apples, which are a big crop in Virginia. However, not many orchards in Virginia grow European pears because they are susceptible to blight in our humid weather. Asian pears are more common in Virginia. Have you seen any local pears (European or Asian) at a farmers market in your community?
Eating Smart with Pears
One of my family’s favorite desserts growing up was canned pears with shredded cheddar cheese sprinkled on top. I know it sounds weird (and that was probably half of the reason I liked it so much), but it tastes really good!
If that’s a little outside your taste preferences, check out these 10 Ways to Enjoy Pears and these pear recipes from USDA’s Mixing Bowl, FoodHero.org, and USA Pears.
- Pear and Apple Compote
- Peach and Pear Cobbler
- Mashed Sweet Potatoes and Pears
- Pear Kabobs with Strawberry Dipping Sauce
- Autumn Squash Bisque with Ginger
- Autumn Panzanella Salad with Pears
- Tangy Pear and Cabbage Slaw
- Winter Fruit Crisp
- Pear Quesadillas
- Glazed Pears
- Spiced Pears
- Breakfast Pear Parfait
- Pocket Fruit Pie
October is National Apple Month and Virginia grown apples are plentiful across the state. Apples are one of the most popular fruits, especially for kids, and are one of the most affordable produce options. With thousands of varieties, each with a different taste, texture, and color, everybody can find an apple they like. I prefer my apples to be crisp and on the tart side, so Granny Smiths and Winesaps are my favorites.