Last weekend I had the opportunity to stop by the USA Pears booth at Fresh Summit. Rows and rows of perfect pears, and I forgot to take a photo. Bad blogger. I did, however, have the opportunity to sample a few pear varieties out of the 10 that are in season right now, which really helped me realize how versatile they can be.
I don’t know about you, but I often forget about pears in favor of apples. Apples are what I grew up with, and I confess that until recently I didn’t know much about selecting a great pear. I’ve been burned by rock-hard pears before, purchased in error when I was really hoping for a pear that was ready to eat. It turns out that all you need to do to figure out if a pear is ready to eat is to gently press your thumb near the stem, and if it gives in, it’s ripe!
Of course, it turns out there are still uses for those hard pears if you get too antsy waiting around for them to be perfect. Aside from cooking down for a lovely pie or grating for a cake, firm pears are ideal for poaching.
Have you poached fruit before? It’s crazy simple — just let your fruit simmer in liquid for a while, then serve however you like! Easy-peasy. Red wine is traditionally used for poaching pears, but there’s so many other options out there, from coffee to alcohol to coconut milk.
I wanted to turn poaching into something for any meal, so I chose to use ginger tea as my poaching liquid. Then I tossed the poached pears with soba noodles, carrots, cucumber, and a simple Asian-inspired dressing for a lunch that can be served warm or cold. It’s so easy that you really have no excuse for boring lunches; just make it the night before and parcel into containers for the week ahead.
You can use whatever flavor of tea you like for this recipe, but I recommend one that has plenty of ginger or spicy pepper. When poaching, be sure to use a pan that allows for enough room for the pears to be completely submerged.
Tea-Poached Pears with Soba Noodles
- 4 cups water
- 5 ginger tea bags
- 2 pears , peeled, halved, and seeded
- 1 package soba noodles
- 1 medium carrot
- 1/2 cucumber
- 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar or brown rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- 2 teaspoons tamari or soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons sambal oelek / chili sauce
- In a saucepan, bring water to a boil, then add tea bags and let brew for 5-7 minutes. Discard tea bags.
- Place pears cut-side down in saucepan and let simmer for 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.
- Cook soba noodles according to package directions. Drain and let cool.
- Grate carrot or cut into matchsticks. Dice cucumber.
- Whisk together vinegar, sesame oil, tamari, and sambal oelek in a large bowl. Taste and adjust seasoning, if needed.
- Add soba noodles, carrots, and cucumber to bowl.
- Remove pears from poaching liquid and dice, and add to bowl. Toss everything together to coat with dressing.
- Serve immediately or chill until ready to eat.
More pear recipes you might like:
Frisee Salad with Pears, Hazelnuts and Blue Cheese – Heather Christo
Pear Ginger Preserves – Savvy Eats
Pear Jam Smash – Take a Megabite
Roasted Pear and Chocolate Chunk Scones – Smitten Kitchen
For more meatless inspiration, check out my Vegetarian board on Pinterest!
Follow Megan Myers | Stetted’s board Vegetarian on Pinterest.