Pears are the super fruit of Asia and around the world. They have been called the “gift of the gods” and were presented as a delicacy at some points in history. They are rich in Vitamins C and K, and hold powerful nutrients and minerals. They are known to have healing attributes for many ailments, especially coughs, colds and flus.
According to Cheryl Murphy, “Pears add approximately 3 grams of water, non-soluble fiber to the diet. The fiber binds to unwanted toxins and bacterium in the colon and leads the way out of the body, reducing the onset of heart disease, cancer and Type-2 Diabetes. Pears reduce cholesterol due to the fiber involved.
“The pear works as an anti-inflammatory in the respiratory system. The pear helps maintain moisture in the lungs. Pears, due to their sour properties, help eliminate phlegm. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, when the lungs take in dry, pathogenic factors, then the intestines, plus other areas of the body, get involved. The pear is a cooling food that prevents lung damage and adds moisture to the lungs and prevents bacteria.
“Colds and coughs usually find their way into the body from August through April when humidity levels drop in the air. A cold or cough within the body is usually the body’s way of saying that it needs to rid excess toxins, waste and bacteria overgrowth. Over 66 million Americans catch colds per year and catching a cold in the Fall usually signifies the lungs are being challenged. If a cough is present, the body is trying to release unwanted toxins to cleanse itself. There is usually an energy imbalance or stagnation, according to Traditional Chinese Medicine. It is better to harmonize with the body than to fight it. You can help the body to bring harmony and balance on its own, and speed the recovery process, with diet and natural remedies. Adding pears to the diet, especially in the Fall, can boost immunity, release toxins and deliver all that is needed to keep colds and coughs away.”
Here are some easy recipes that you can enjoy this season and boost your immune system in the process!
Pears hold precious cooling compounds to energize the lungs, keeping the area moist and free of bacteria.
Stewed Sweet Pears
2 pears, peeled and sliced 4 cups water
1 tablespoon honey
Boil the pears and honey in water for about 30 minutes. Drink while hot.
EASY PEAR SAUCE
Pear Sauce is easy to make and is delicious served plain. It is also great as a topping for pancakes, waffles, and toast (for a real treat, spread the toast with almond butter under the pear sauce and top with blueberries). Try spooning it over ice cream for desert.
This recipe yields about 4 cups.
8-10 pears; peeled, cored, and cut into 1-inch pieces (I use Bartlett)
1/4 cup water
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Combine pears, water, lemon juice, cinnamon, ginger, and vanilla in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until pears have softened, about 25-30 minutes.
2. Use an immersion blender to process the pear sauce until smooth. If you prefer a chunky pear sauce, mash with a potato masher. You can also transfer the cooked pear mixture to a food processor or blender to process, just make sure the pear sauce has cooled down.
3. Once the pear sauce has cooled down, pour into glass or plastic containers. Cover and store in the refrigerator. The pear sauce will keep in the fridge for one week. You can also freeze or can the pear sauce.
Here’s one from Chef Nick Stellino that’s a little more elegant, but still uncomplicated.
PEARS IN RED WINE SAUCE – Pere al Vino Rosso
4 large pears, peeled and cored
2 cups red wine
1 cup sugar
Cut a small slice from the bottom of each of the pears so they will stand up straight in the saucepan without falling over. In a saucepan large enough to hold the pears, bring the wine and sugar to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring well. Once the mixture reaches a boil, cook for 3 more minutes.
Take the pan off the heat and gently place the pears, standing up, into the saucepan, being careful not to splash yourself with the hot wine-and-sugar mixture.
Place the pan back on the stove and cook the pears over medium-low heat—15 to 20 minutes for a firm texture or 30 to 40 minutes for a softer texture—braising the pears with the wine-and-sugar mixture every 5 minutes.
Turn off the heat and let the pears stand in the wine sauce until they reach room temperature. Use a slotted spoon to transfer each of the pears to a dessert dish, and top with plenty of the wine sauce.
CHEF’S NOTE: For an elegant presentation, serve the pears with sweet whipped cream or whipped mascarpone cheese, and top with toasted chopped pistachio nuts.