Fresh pears add sweet zest to salads

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By: Mary Ann Lienhart-Cross
lienhart@purdue.edu

TheDeliciousLife/Flickr

The fall is great time to prepare salad with pears, apples or the two of them together. Several years ago, I had the pleasure of enjoying a fresh pear salad, and now it is one of my favorites. I have used the recipe in many programs.

Pears are one of the few fruits that won’t ripen properly on the tree, so they are picked mature but hard and they must be allowed to soften slightly before eating.

Choose pears that are fragrant, free of blemishes, and beginning to color and soften. Hold pears at room temperature until they give slightly to pressure. Refrigerate and use within a few days. Pears intended for cooking should be cooked when they are still fairly firm.

A bonus to pears is they don’t require peeling for eating out of hand, although some have coarse or tannic skins that may be a little unpleasant, so I write peel as desired.

You need to know that peeled pears oxidize rapidly; so rub or sprinkle with lemon juice or store a short time in acidulated water until ready to use. For this salad, I use Anjou and Bosc pears, but you can use whatever variety you can purchase.

PEAR AND CELERY SALAD
Makes 6 individual salads.

Ingredients

  • 4 medium ribs of celery, diced
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar (or other fruit vinegar)
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 medium ripe pears (Red Bartlett or Anjou), cut up
  • 4 oz. sharp white cheddar cheese, grated
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries (optional)
  • 6 large butter head or other lettuce leaves

Directions

  1. Whisk vinegar and honey in large bowl until well blended. Add celery and pears; gently stir to coat. Add cheese and cranberries.
  2. Divide lettuce leaves among 6 salad plates and top with a portion of salad. Add chopped pecans just before serving. Serve chilled or room temperature.

As you know, the holidays are all about saying thanks to friends, so please consider yourself invited to our holiday open house. The Purdue Extension Elkhart County open house is from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 2. Enjoy light refreshments, meet the team and sip on some hot cinnamon apple cider. We’d love to see you there.

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