Mediterranean diet


In fact, Mother Nature has blessed mankind with countless types of fruit that can increase well-being and prevent disease. Pears play a prominent role in this and are a nutritious reward for overall health. Hailed for their rich nutritional value and tantalizing taste, they have become a staple of healthy, balanced diets around the world. Depending on the variety, the fruits, which have a thin, tender outer skin, can be green, white, yellow or red. They contain juicy flesh with a mild, sweet flavor and tiny black seeds that are not edible.

The pear (Pyrus communis) probably comes from the Caucasus and Anatolia. The ancient Greek poet Homer already reported about the delicious fruit, the first varieties of which were cultivated in Greece almost 3,000 years ago. He described them as a “gift from the gods”, probably due to their sweet, juicy taste. The Romans bred other varieties and spread them throughout Europe. Today’s number is estimated at 5,000, cultivated around the world and varying in size, shape and flavor.

The pear tree belongs to the botanical rose family, which also includes apples, plums, cherries, peaches and almonds. Depending on the variety, it can reach a height of up to 20 meters and needs a full sun, warm and sheltered location. Most pear trees flower in the period from April to May with white but sometimes yellow or pink shades. In September and October, either the classic pear shape like the European varieties or the round and apple-like Nashi pear is ripe. The average cultivated tree grows for up to 70 years, whereas wild forms can live up to 300 years!

Pears can be eaten raw as fruit, used as an ingredient in cooking or added to salads. They are also ideal when processed into juice or mixed into smoothies. They have made a special name for themselves as desserts. Pears are always somewhat overshadowed by apples, although they don’t have to hide in any way. Both have similar health benefits and contain pectin, a fiber that nourishes gut bacteria and is considered a real magic bullet against indigestion and other gut problems. Therefore, they are undoubtedly a wonderful addition to the daily diet and offer a host of health benefits for increased overall well-being. As an excellent source of essential vitamins and minerals, they support strong bones and joints, strengthen muscles, improve skin texture and promote healthy hair growth.

They are also rich in polyphenols, flavonoids, and carotenoid antioxidants, which may boost immunity, prevent cancer, and increase heart well-being. Although the winter fruit is relatively rich in sugar and carbohydrates (about 52 kcal per 100 grams), they contain significantly less acid than apples, which makes them very well tolerated. The taste of the pear is mainly determined by the quality at the time of harvest. Not allowed to reach maturity on the tree, they must ripen in special storage areas and can therefore not be stored for long. But not only the fruit is noble, but also the wood of the pear tree, which is very fine and changes from silver-gray to a strong red tone after the appropriate wood treatment.

A practical tip for at home: pears produce the ripening gas ethylene and are also sensitive to it themselves. If you haven’t gotten any ripe fruit, you can cover the pears with plastic wrap and let them ripen for a few days. They also have the same effect on other fruits, such as kiwis and bananas. 

Poire belle Hélène

Everyone has probably heard or tried the classic French specialty Pear Helene or Poire belle Hélène. It was created in 1870 by Auguste Escoffier for the premiere of the operetta The Beautiful Helena which was staged in Paris. In the original recipe, fresh peeled pears were poached in sugar and, after cooling, served on vanilla ice cream and decorated with violets. Today, they are mainly served with hot chocolate and vanilla ice cream.

The article was first published in Issue 21


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