Quick Facts: Pear

• The soft, juicy, sweet fruit is related to the apple and the quince, and is a member of the rose family.

• The pear is a great source of fiber, potassium, vitamin C and copper.

• Referred to as “the gift of the gods” in Homer’s The Odyssey, pears also were considered to be a luxurious item in the court of Louis XIV.

• The first pear tree in the United States was planted in 1620, brought over by the early colonists.

• Pears ripen quickly, so those found at the grocery store often still are hard. Place unripened pears in a brown paper bag, and store at room temperature for a few days. Press your thumb near the stem end of the fruit—they are ready to eat if slightly soft to the touch.

• First available in late autumn, December is the one month when most varieties of pears can be purchased.