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What can I do with unripe pears?

I bought a crate of organic pears from a farmer about a month ago. They came green and rock-hard, and most of them have never advanced beyond this state. I've tried putting them with some apples to see if that would ripen them, but no luck. They're edible, but crunchy and tasteless. A few have gone directly to mold - I had to throw three away yesterday. I guess they're just never going to ripen. So -- any ideas of what I could do with these pears? I'm open to cooking them in some way, just not sure if the final product will be all that interesting since the pears themselves lack flavour.

Thanks in advance.

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  1. Make them into a pectin jam that you can use for setting preserves? ok maybe not, I think pears are generally low in pectin. hmmmm

    3 Replies
    1. re: rasputina

      I make a mean pear and vanilla bean jam that is sublime (and sets very well). Pear butter is also excellent.

      How about a pear crisp or galette?

      1. re: chefathome

        Ooh - the pear jam sounds very intriguing. I failed to put up the usual berry jam this past summer, because my son inhaled all the berries before I could do anything with them. I need to stock my pantry. Care to share the recipe? Do you add commercial pectin?

        1. re: geekmom

          I make two recipes - one is freezer jam (below) and the other is not. As I am not home for a few days I do not have access to the latter but the first is awesome because you do not have to can! Yes, commercial pectin is added.
          http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/pear-...

          This pear apricot chutney is awesome, too...
          http://www.canadianliving.com/food/pe... I don't use currants but that is just my preference.

    2. I got some pears like that from a coworker and ended up combining them with apples and making an applesauce. About 50-50 pear to apple ratio. We ate it plain and I used some in a cake.

      1. Roast, then dust them with some brown sugar and cinnamon and serve as a dessert either with or without ice cream. Or just serve them over some pound cake.

        1 Reply
        1. re: ipsedixit

          I love the roast pear idea, because I can have those going while I've got the oven on for something else. Thanks!

        2. How about pear chutney?

          1. Peel, then poach in a bottle of zinfandel, a cinnamon stick, a twist of lemon and sugar to taste. This may take a while depending on the size of the pears, but you can also peel core and slice them to make poaching faster. When tender, serve with vanilla ice cream.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Isolda

              I was going to say exactly this but add a good amt. of fresh ginger. Try serving it with sweetened greek yogurt or creme fraiche

            2. I made a mixed fruit pie this week - 4 apples, 1 pear, 1 quince. The quince overwhelmed the pears, so if I were to do it again I'd do half pear and half apple.

              1. Poach them in red wine w/cinnamon and sugar, then remove the pears and reduce the wine sauce into more of a glaze.

                1 Reply
                1. re: buenasolas

                  Here is a good recipe for this: http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes...
                  I add vanilla to the poaching liquid as well. The leftover poaching liquid makes a base for a nice sorbet, e.g., with cranberries.

                  However, this should be done with ripe but firm pears. Under-ripe ones will lack sweetness and flavor even if softened by the poaching.

                2. Pears require cool-termperature conditioning before they'll ripen properly (temp and length of time varies by variety). Your pears might not get beyond the state they're in.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: tacosandbeer

                    That's what I suspected, tacosandbeer. Thanks. I've left them in the coolest place in the house (next to the drafty back door in our already cold basement) but it hasn't made a difference, unfortunately.

                  2. I have cored and sliced them thickly, then brushed with Italian style vinaigrette. I then grill them, and serve with a green salad with bleu cheese and candied walnuts.

                    1. Did try ripening them in paper bags?

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: chocolatetartguy

                        Not yet; maybe that would be helpful. I'll give it a shot. Thanks!

                        1. re: chocolatetartguy

                          Yah, you might try keeping an apple in the bag with them. Apples exude ethylene gas, which can help the ripening of many fruits & veggies. Interestingly, it also helps prevent potatoes from sprouting.

                          "There are only ten minutes in the life of a pear when it is perfect to eat." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

                          1. re: eclecticsynergy

                            From the OP

                            I've tried putting them with some apples to see if that would ripen them, but no luck.

                        2. Throw them in the crockpot with sugar and spices and make pear butter ( I would Google a recipe so you can get proportions right.) Let it go all day. Make sure to include the skin and cores so that it will thicken properly. Then, strain it and jar it. It keeps for a while, but you can also give it away. People usually like that stuff. It is great smeared on a ham sandwich, on toast, stirred into oatmeal, served with brie or blue cheese and crackers, you could even use it in a salad dressing.

                          1. Just wanted to say a huge THANKS to all of you who have suggested ideas for my pears. I had no idea there were so many things to do with this fruit, and I'm so happy it isn't going to go to waste. It sounds like for the most part I can treat the pears very much like the quinces I just finished up the other day - poaching or baking with spices seems to be a good use for them.