Eat Well to Be Well Recipe: Maple-Poached Pears – Osage County Online | Osage County News

Eat Well to Be Well Recipe: Maple-Poached Pears

Simple and perfectly delicious, a fiber-rich stewed pear is one of the healthiest desserts you can serve after a meal

Before I talk about this fabulous recipe, let’s talk first about the simple pear itself.

Pears are one of the most underrated and overlooked fruits around. Maybe it’s because they lack the eye-catching colors of strawberries or watermelon and their flavor is more subtle compared to the distinctive taste of a kiwi or a papaya. And when it comes to popularity, pears are just … so-so. Pears don’t even rank in the top five favorite fruits of Americans, which by the way are bananas, apples, grapes, strawberries, and oranges, respectively.

But don’t let that stop you from trying out this recipe! A pear slowly cooked in rich maple syrup surrounded by cinnamon sticks is a decadent dessert showcasing this fruit’s blend of sophistication and sweetness that rivals a baked apple.

If it’s been awhile since you’ve eaten a pear, here’s your opportunity. From September through January (right now!) is when pears are at their peak. And when in season – watch out! An in-season ripe pear’s unique taste and texture range from succulent to buttery to a mellow sweetness – a true culinary delight.

Nutritionally, this humble fruit is top notch for several reasons:

Pears are an excellent source of fiber. A medium-sized pear provides 6 grams of fiber – the majority found in the skin – equal to about 21 percent of the recommended daily value. This makes pears one of the best sources of fiber of all fruits.

Pears are fat free and cholesterol free. By including more pears in your diet, you will replace higher fat foods helping lower your overall intake of fat and cholesterol. This may help reduce your risk of heart disease and some types of cancer.

Pears are sodium free, too. Eating more sodium free foods, like a pear, just makes sense since most Americans over-consume sodium.

Pears are a good source of vitamin C, phytonutrients, and antioxidants. A medium-sized pear provides about 7 mg or 8 percent of the daily value for the antioxidant vitamin C. Pears also naturally contain various phytonutrients and other antioxidants supporting good health. Choose pears with vibrantly colored skins of various pear varieties.

Not sure which variety of pear is best for cooking or how to store pears, here are tips you need to know:

  • Firmer varieties like Bosc and Anjou are best for cooking while Bartlett and Comice are best raw.
  • Keep pears out on the counter until they are ripe. Then store in the refrigerator.
  • To determine ripeness, gently press near the stem with your thumb; if it gives slightly, it’s ready.
  • Puree pears into smoothies, sauces, and dressing to add sweet flavor.

Now that you know why pears should be a common food found in your kitchen, let’s talk about this recipe. If you already love pears, be prepared to fall in love even more. Even if pears are not your favorite fruit, give this very simple recipe a try. Just four ingredients with a cook time of only 20 minutes – that’s hard to beat! For that touch of natural sweetness, maple syrup is added to help satisfy your craving for a sugary confection. It’s pure deliciousness at its best.

Maple-Poached Pears

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 4 pears, peeled, Bosc or Anjou varieties best for cooking

Instructions:

  • In a large pot, bring the water, maple syrup, and cinnamon sticks to a boil.
  • Add the pears. Bring back to a boil, and then reduce the heat to medium. Cover and simmer until the pears are soft, about 20 minutes.
  • Serve warm.

Variation tip:

  • Make red wine-poached pears by replacing 1 cup of the water with 1 cup of dry red wine and replacing the maple syrup with 1/4 cup of honey.

Maple-Poached Pears is just one of 125 recipes from my book The Heart Disease Prevention Cookbook, 125 Easy Mediterranean Diet Recipes For A Healthier You. Heart disease is the leading cause of death among Americans and eating more foods, such as pears, is a smart choice for heart health. Various studies have found including foods like pears popular in the Mediterranean region – Italy, Greece, Morocco, Sicily, and Spain – provide important nutrients that have led to longer life spans and lower rates of coronary heart disease. That’s why both the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the World Health Organization recognize the Mediterranean diet as a healthy and sustainable way of eating that promotes physical well-being while reducing heart disease. To find out more on how to follow a Mediterranean way of eating, check out my new book, found on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.


Cheryl Mussatto MS, RD, LD is a registered dietitian with a master’s degree in dietetics and nutrition from the University of Kansas, and a bachelor’s degree in dietetics and institutional management from Kansas State University. She is a clinical dietitian for local clinics, an adjunct professor at an area community college where she teaches basic nutrition, and a freelance health and nutrition writer. She is the author of The Nourished Brain: The Latest Science On Food’s Power For Protecting The Brain From Alzheimers and Dementia, The Prediabetes Action Plan and Cookbook and The Heart Disease Prevention Cookbook,. Visit her website at www.eatwelltobewellrd.com.


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