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Time to eat: South African pears

Time to eat: South African pears
With pale, freckled skin, and a name like Williams, the familiar yellow pear is one of the homeliest residents of our fruit bowl – so imagine my surprise when, on a recent trip to South Africa, I was served some of the finest examples I’ve ever had the pleasure of biting into. Plump, golden, and wickedly juicy, these Williams were every bit as delicious as the first late-summer fruits from my own tree in London – and in February! Truly, travel broadens the mind.
It turns out that, fond as it is of Britain, South Africa is a pretty perfect place as far as the pear is concerned. Production of familiar varieties such as the fragrant Williams and the green, meltingly soft Packham’s – as well as some which deserve to be better known, like the blushing pink, sweet Forelle – is concentrated in the cool valleys of the Western Cape, about an hour from Cape Town. Areas like Elgin, Ceres and Wolseley have the kind of gorgeously green, rolling terrain, and Mediterranean climate that makes them some of South Africa’s most productive agricultural land, as well as a popular holiday spot for city dwellers.
But you don’t have to travel across the world to taste what the country has to offer. Just as our own homegrown pears are disappearing from the scene, South African fruit, which is in season from February to October, is on its way to fill the gap. Because pears are best picked crisp, they can be transported by sea, meaning a lower carbon footprint, and fruit that’s in tip-top condition by the time it reaches us. To check for ripeness, press your fingers lightly into the flesh around the stem. If the skin yields to medium pressure, and the base of the pear is beginning to turn yellow, they’re perfect. Don’t leave them too long though – a perfect pear waits for no man!
For all their delectably
Time to eat: South African pears
sticky sweetness, pears are secret health foods. Not only are they low-fat, and low GI, but they’re a good source of fibre, potassium and vitamin E. And next time you feel an attack of the sniffles coming on, pick up a pear – they’re stuffed full of the antioxidants and vitamin C so important for building up your immune system, plus, the same high pectin levels that make them so easy to turn into jam is great for keeping your cholesterol at a healthy level.
So, once you’ve had your fill of pears fresh from the bowl, what else can you do with them? Well, they’re delicious with some crumbled creamy blue cheese, a handful of walnuts, and a little runny honey and olive oil drizzled over the top, or chucked into a pan of caramelised onions with some thyme as an accompaniment to pork chops. For a deliciously healthy dessert, poach them in a pan of sugar syrup infused with star anise and a little fresh ginger, and top with a dollop of crème fraiche.
For more great ideas, visit
South African pears are available in UK supermarkets February to August

1 Comments | Add a comment


Maysara Yahea
Dear Mr, Ms We are almass group co we specialize in import fruits to Egypt  We need F O B prices of pears rosemary and forelle which contain 12 kg net per box Best Regards    Maysara Al-mass Group CO Al-oboor market, block 9 offic 310 TEL:0020244770676 FAX:0020225887500 MOB:0020110505422 e-Mail: Website: 


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9 March 2010
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