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RECIPE: pan-seared gingered pears with toasted hazelnuts

Try out this sweet pear recipe, perfect for the holiday season.

Sweet and juicy, this green fruit is PEAR-fect for the holidays! USA pears have several health benefits and can be used is a variety of recipes.

There are 10 varieties of USA Pears, each with distinctive flavors, textures and colors.  Here are some of the most common ones you see on store shelves:

  • Bartlett: Sweet and extra juicy – this pear variety is in season August – February. Bartletts are traditionally known as the canning pear but can also be served sliced on top of salads or paired with cheese and nuts for a delicious snack.
  • Red Anjou: Juicy with a sweet and slightly tangy flavor – this pear variety is in season October – July. Their beautiful red color allows them to stand out in any dish – great for baking, in smoothies, grilling or simply snacking.
  • Bosc: Known for their unique brown coloration – also known as “russeting," you have often seen these fruits documented in paintings and photography because of their natural beauty. Bosc pears are crisp with a honey sweetness, and their more-dense flesh makes them ideal for baking, broiling or poaching.

Pears aren't just tasty, but good for you, too. Here are some of the health benefits:

  • Pears are high in fiber, which helps keep you full and helps with digestive regularity.
  • Pears are packed with potassium: a powerful player in hydration, muscle and nerve functioning and regulating blood pressure. Potassium may also aid in reducing blood pressure and water retention, protect against stroke, and prevent osteoporosis and kidney stones.
  • They are an excellent source of vitamin C; a defender of cell health as an antioxidant.

Here are some tips when it comes to picking out, washing and preparing the perfect pear:

  • Check the neck: Select pears that have a slight “give” when gently pressed at the top. Pears ripen from the inside out, so softness overall may indicate over-ripeness.
  • Store at room temperature, or inside a paper bag if pears are hard or firm and needing to ripen.
  • Prepare by washing with cold water before eating. No need to peel; just slice pears in half and take out the core with a knife or melon baller.

Recipe: Pan-Roasted Gingered Pears with Toasted Hazelnuts

Serves 6

All you need: 

  • 3 pears, cored and halved
  • ½ cup 100% apple juice
  • ¼ cup light agave nectar
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp fresh grated ginger
  • 6 tbsp non-fat vanilla yogurt
  • 3 tbsp chopped hazelnuts, toasted*

All you do: 

  1. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add apple juice and place pears, cut-side down. Bring to a boil and simmer 12 to 15 minutes or until pears are tender. Remove pears to serving platter, reserving juices in skillet. 
  2. To same skillet add agave nectar, brown sugar and ginger. Whisk together until sauce comes to a low boil and thickens. Pour over pears; top with yogurt and toasted hazelnuts. 

*To toast hazelnuts, heat a dry skillet over medium heat. Add hazelnuts to the pan and toss until golden brown. 

You can find this recipe from HyVee here. For more recipes, visit www.hy-vee.com