Sweet, delicious and rich flavored pears offer crunchiness of apples yet juicy as peach and nectarine. They are widely popular, particularly in the whole of the northern hemisphere, for their unique nutrient qualities.
Botanically, it is a "pome fruit” produced in the Rosaceae family of trees, in the Pyrus genus. Pome fruit plants are an average sized trees found in semi-tropical regions around the northern hemisphere. They bear medium-size fruits that characteristically have several small seeds at its center encased in tough coat. The members of pome family fruits include apple, loquat, quince, medlar...etc.
Scientific name: Pyrus communis.
Pears are broadly classified based up on their place of origin as Asian-pears and European-pears. Asian varieties feature crispy texture and firm consistency that do not change even after harvesting or storage, making them fit for ready-to-eat. Whereas, European types generally become soft and juicy when allowed them to ripen.
In structure, pear fruit feature bell or “pyriform” shape; around 5-6 inches long, and weigh about 200 gm. Fresh fruit is firm in texture with mild ‘apple’ flavor. Externally, its skin is very thin; and depending upon the cultivar type, it can be green, red-orange or yellow-orange in color. Inside, it's off-white color flesh is soft and juicy. However, in case of completely ripe fruits, its flesh may turn to grainy texture with gritty sensation while cutting with a knife. The center of the fruit is more or less similar to apple in appearance with centrally located tiny inedible seeds.
1.Some of the popular Asian varieties are Ichiban Nashi, Shinsui, Shinsieki, and Nijisseki.
2.Popular European types are Bartlett, and Comice.
Health benefits of pears
§Pears fruit is packed with health benefiting nutrients such as dietary fiber, anti-oxidants, minerals and vitamins, which are necessary for optimum health. Total measured antioxidant strength (ORAC value) in pears is 2941 µmol TE/100 g.
§Pears are a good source of dietary fiber. 100 g fruit provides 3.1 g or 8% of fiber per 100 g. Regular eating of this fruit may offer protection against colon cancer. Most of the fiber in them is non soluble polysaccharide (NSP), which functions as a good bulk laxative in the gut. Additionally, its gritty fiber content binds to cancer-causing toxins and chemicals in the colon, protecting its mucous membrane from contact with these compounds.
§In addition, pear fruit is one of the very low calorie fruits; provides just 58 calories per 100g. A low calorie but high fiber diet may help bring significant reduction in body weight, and blood LDL cholesterol levels.
§They contain good quantities of vitamin C. Fresh fruits provide about 7% of RDA per 100 g.
§They are moderate sources of antioxidant flavonoids phyto-nutrients such as beta-carotene, lutein and zea-xanthin. These compounds, along with vitamin C and A, help the body protected from harmful free radicals.
§The fruit is a good source of minerals such as copper, iron, potassium, manganese and magnesium as well as B-complex vitamins such as folates, riboflavin and pyridoxine (vitamin B-6).
§Although not well documented, pears are among the least allergenic of all the fruits. For the same reason, they often recommended by health practitioners as a safe alternative in the preparation of food products in allergic persons.
§Pears have been suggested in various traditional medicines in the treatment of colitis, chronic gallbladder disorders, arthritis, and gout.