10th Fruit Delivery Oct 22, 23, & 24, 2013
Have you ever tried cutting out a lot of food items out of your diet? Last week my wife, Ann, and I over the course of several days got our diet down to just apples, pears, vegetables and water. I craved some sugary treats and crunchy chips at first but then I found replacing these cravings with a sweet Honeycrisp apple or a juicy Concorde pear more than satisfied these cravings and gave me more consistent energy throughout the day. Since it is peak of apple and pear season I’m sticking with my handy fruit snacks to maintain a healthy blood sugar throughout the day. If you’re interested in the specifics of this cleanse let me know.
Here are some of the reason pears are so great for you. Pears contain two of three antioxidants that are thought to decrease risk of type 2 diabetes – and red pears contain all three. Pears contain more fiber than almost all other fruits, with 22% of your recommended daily intake. They also contain about 12% of your recommended daily vitamin C. They are a good source of vitamin B2, C, E, copper, and potassium. Pears contain more pectin than apples, which helps keep your cholesterol levels in check. Fresh pears are considered “hypo-allergenic” because people with food allergies can often enjoy pears without having a reaction. They are low glycemic, which means the carbs in pears are slow to convert to sugar – so you don’t get a sugar high and crash, which can wreak havoc on your body, and like I said last week they are only about 100 calories each.
Everett Myers, Founder and President of FruitShare™
In your box
Sweet Orin apples
Storage and Ripening
Take all of your pears out of the box right away. Store them on the counter at room temperature. Test ripeness by checking the neck, or pressing gently on the pear near the stem. When the pear gives to gentle thumb pressure, the pear will be juicy and soft. This is the best way to check pears because they ripen from the inside out, and pressing near the stem gets you closer to the center of the fruit. Remember that pears are an ethylene-producing fruit; that means that they naturally produce a gas that will make them ripen faster. If you want to ripen up your pears quickly, put a few in a paper bag to trap the gas. Once they give to thumb pressure you can refrigerate them, which lets you enjoy them over a longer period of time. Keep the apples in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator to keep them fresh for several weeks.
What It Takes
The Stewart brothers provided three varieties of apples for us this week: Honeycrisp, Sweet Orin and Pinova. Their orchard is situated near Hood River, Oregon and is one of the most beautiful orchards you’ll ever see. With Mount Hood as a backdrop and the Columbia River flowing just below the orchard they know what it means to protect the environment. Ronny and Jimmy have been working on the family farm near Hood River since they were children. But there wouldn’t have ever been a family farm if their parents, Ron and Cheryl, hadn’t decided to sell their dry-cleaning business and start an organic fruit farm. For many years, Ron was the only organic farmer on the National Commission for Small Farms. His knowledge about organics and farming were passed down to Ronny and Jimmy, who took over the farm in 2003. Since then, the brothers have expanded the farm to include many varieties of pears, apples and more. They have found that one of the best things to do is create a natural loop in the production process. They do this by composting cast-off fruit and peels, then using the composted material to keep the soil rich and fertile. It’s a sustainable way to reduce waste and keep the farm running properly so they can continue growing outstanding fruit. Enjoy all three varieties of apples as snacks, in baking or even on salads. They go great with spinach, walnuts and a balsamic dressing.
This week’s Bosc, D’Anjou and Concorde pears are from the Stennes family. Like many of our organic growers, the Stennes family farm in Washington’s Cascade Mountains is a family affair. The farm began in 1894, when the Stennes family emmigrated from Norway and planted apple trees on their homestead. Now, Keith is joined by his twin sons, Mark and Kevin to make up the third and fourth generations of Stennes farmers. They have grown the orchard to include not just apples, but also cherries, pluots, plums, and of course, pears. This week they’ve provided some great pears. Concordes are known for their sweetness and juiciness, as well as their tall, beautiful shape. When ripening they tend to get yellow-green skin, and can be eaten while crisp, making them a unique variety because you don’t need to wait for them to soften! I prefer them when they give to thumb pressure at the stem. I know they are their sweetest and juiciest at this point. Concorde pears are perfectly suited for slicing on a cheese plate or into a fresh salad because they don’t turn brown when sliced like most pears. D’anjou pears are a popular variety that are easily recognized by their egg-shaped appearance. These pears skin will not change color as they ripen, so don’t wait around for them to change – remember to “check the neck” to gauge their ripeness and when they give to soft pressure, they are ready to eat. D’anjou pears are great for most recipes, because they are juicy and fresh tasting. They can be used for baking, grilling or poaching, and they are great sliced in salads. Bosc pears are a distinctive variety with a crunchy-yet-tender flesh and sweet, spiced flavor. Don’t be deterred by their brown skin: the flesh is firm and spicier than other varieties. Bosc pears are more flavorful earlier in the ripening process. Enjoy their complex, sweet flavor before they have fully softened. When you test your Bosc pears to check their ripeness, keep in mind that their flesh is denser than other varieties. This means that when you “check the neck,” it will not give as much to pressure. Don’t wait around for these pears to get super soft; they’re ready to enjoy while they’re still nice and firm. Because of this firm flesh, Bosc pears are great for baking, broiling and poaching. Their strong flavor is also less likely to be overwhelmed by spices such as cinnamon or nutmeg.
Health and Wellness
Great news! Eating the apples and pears in your box this week could help decrease your risk for type 2 diabetes – especially for women. It is known that certain antioxidants called flavonoids can help improve insulin sensitivity. There are three types of flavonoids that scientists are particularly interested in, and pears include two of them (and red pears contain all three!). While eating these antioxidants has been connected to decreased risk of type 2 diabetes in both men and women, a new analysis of the Nurses’ Health Study shows that the combination of flavonoids in apples and pears has the most consistent association with lower risk of diabetes. So dig in. This week’s box might as well be called the Flavonoid Box.
Cinnamon Sauteed Apples & Pears
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 apples—peeled, cored and sliced 1/3 inch thick
2 pears—peeled, cored and sliced 1/3 inch thick
2 tablespoons light brown sugar (experiment you may be able to use less)
Pinch of cinnamon
In a large skillet, melt the butter. Add the apple and pear slices and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned in spots, about 5 minutes. Stir in the sugar and cinnamon, reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and lightly caramelized, about 10 minutes longer. Serve immediately or refrigerate overnight and rewarm before serving.
Courtesy of foodandwine.com