Fall is upon us, and in upstate New York that means it’s apple season. From pies to cider, crisps to chai lattes, the apple comes only second to pumpkins during the fall. While everyone else is sipping their hot cider and eating pumpkin pie like it’s cake, you should try a different fruit on for size. You know how the saying goes: when life hands you apples, get a pear instead.


Photo by Diana Situ

Growing up, my family had apple and pear trees in our backyard to pick from, so I’ve never been partial to either fruit. As a result, I’ve amassed quite the bit of knowledge on the often underrated and under-appreciated fruit that is the pear.

Pears are chock full of fiber and are an excellent substitute if eating loads of bran isn’t your thing. Some types of pears are also loaded with potassium. As someone who is allergic to bananas, it’s great to know I have another natural replacement to getting my potassium instead of pills.

My favorite pear is the Asian pear. It’s got that snappy crunch when you first bite into it, but once you start to chew, the inside is soft and juicy. There’s nothing worse than a pear that’s hard all around but that makes finding the perfect balance even sweeter. If you find that your pears are never ripe enough, remember that pears don’t come off the tree ripe, so give them a few day after you buy them to soften a little. To speed up the ripening process, it’s best to keep pears at room temperature and near other ripened fruits.


Photo courtesty of Liz West

Pear varieties are just as abundant as apple varieties are and the possibilities for what you can do with them are endless. Here’s a great recipe from Northwestern University with pomegranates that’ll make your mouth water. If you’re looking for a more grown up pairing, try making pear sangria. You just need a little ginger, wine, vodka and a sliced and slightly juiced pear before you’re on your way to pear sangria bliss.