Pears - history, production, trade
The pear is the fruit of the pear tree, whose scientific name is Pyrus communis: pears belong to the Rosaceae family.
This kind of fresh fruit can be of different shapes and size, taste and colour, according to the varieties of pears cultivated. Worldwide there are more than 5000 different varieties of pears, almost all produced and traded on the fruit and vegetable market.
The pear is appreciated for its flavour and juiciness: its skin can be of different colours, from green to yellow, to red and even brown, according to the variety of pears produced and traded on the fruit and vegetable market.
The pear is formed by the mesocarp or flesh, which can be crisp, grainy or buttery, and sometimes can have sclereids, in other words stone cells that give to the pear a gritty texture.
The flesh of the pear envelops the central part, called endocarp (or core), formed by five cartilaginous carpels, where there are 1-2 seeds.
The edible part of the pear includes, as well as the flesh of the pear, also its skin after being well washed.
This fruit and vegetable product is, more properly, a pome, that is a false fruit: the pear is a type of fresh fruit that belongs to a very big botanical category, that includes, apart from pears, also the tree of apples, quince and medlars (called Pomaceae).
The feature, distinguishing the real fruit of pear is that it is the result of the flower fecundation; in the pear tree, therefore, the “fruit” should be the central part (core), the part deriving from fecundation and not the flower receptacle that grows around it (flesh of the pear): the main body of the pear, the one that we usually consider as the edible part and that we usually eat, actually is not the real fruit of the pear tree.
With about 30-35 calories per 100gr, pears are considered a type of fresh fruit low in calories: the pear, in fact, is formed for the 84% of water; the pear is rich in simple sugars (such as fructose), that can help the body when we feel tired, in vitamins (vitamin A, vitamin B1, B2, B3, B5 and B6, vitamin C, D, K and J) and in mineral salts (potassium, sodium, phosphorus, iron, magnesium, fluorine, calcium and a minimum percentage of zinc and copper).
As well as in these important nutritional substances, the pear is also reach in fibres (about 16% of the daily needs in only one pear) and in substances that have antioxidant properties. This fresh fruit has a laxative and diuretic action and, being very digestive, is considered very suitable for children and old people diets.
Furthermore, the predominance of potassium, makes the pear suitable in low-salt diets, as well as suitable for the prevention of ictus and hypertension.
It is important to carefully handle pears, as they bruise very easily; pears keep very well in the refrigerator and ripen better once they have already been harvested. During ripening, the pear produces ethylene, a natural gas that is an hormone useful for the ripening.
To quicken the ripening process of pears, therefore, it is enough to put this fruit in a paper bag for some days: paper, in fact, keeping the humidity produced by the pear while ripening, prevents its withering; in little time, therefore, pears will be ready for consumption.
The pear can be considered as a variety of fresh fruit to be dried. In fact, as well as consumed fresh, the pear can be used in fruit salads, to prepare cakes, in the production of jams and fruit juices, cooked in wine or for the preparation of pears in syrup.
The matching of the pear with cheese is very popular, especially with those cheeses that have a strong flavour, such as pecorino, Parmesan (typical Italian mature cheese) or other sharp cheeses.
Pears have become increasingly important worldwide: nowadays, there are many companies that produce pears, certified companies for the production of pears, producers of pears, companies that produce organic pears, companies that deal with the trade of pears, retailers of pears, importers of pears, exporters of pears and wholesalers of pears.