Bosc Pears (how to tell when they’re ripe, and how to cook them)

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I bought some bosc pears a week ago. When they’re ripe they are one of my favourite fruits, and one of the first fruit trees that I ordered. These pears sat in a box in the kitchen and I wondered if they would ever ripen. When I had a craving for poached pears last night I decided to look up how to tell when bosc pears are ripe, and it turns out that mine were ripe, even though they didn’t look it. I made the most wonderful poached pears with them, the rich, buttery bosc flavour combined with the warmth of cinnamon. Perfect.

Bosc pears are ripe when there is a very slight give in the neck of the pear when you press on it with a finger. If they are soft, they are overripe. They are picked before they’re ripe, usually kept in cold storage, and then left to ripen at room temperature for a few days. Bosc pears ripen from the inside to the outside, so if you are waiting for the pear to be perfectly soft and juicy when you press it, you’ll be disappointed with a rotten core. Once they are perfectly ripe, they quickly become overripe, so keep an eye on them once they’re at room temperature and you’ll be rewarded with delicious fruit.

To poach them, for every one pear, heat 1 cup of water and 1/3 cup of honey or coconut sugar over medium-high heat in a pan with a tight fitting lid, add any spices you’d like to use (I used half a teaspoon of cinnamon for 3 pears). You can either leave the pears whole, or slice them into quarters and remove the core around the seeds. Put these pears in the hot liquid, with the lid on, and continue to cook for around 20 minutes. The taste is wonderful, especially served with plenty of cream.

To make a delicious sauce, remove the pears from the pan, leave the lid off the pan and continue to let it bubble over medium high heat, allowing the liquid to reduce by half or more.

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