You may know that Washington is the number one apple producing state in the nation, but did you know that we are also first in pear production?
Apple and pear harvest begins in September and continues through November.
Washington grows 153,000 acres of apples. That is almost 60% of the US supply and the most valuable crop in Washington State.
Washington apple growers grow red delicious, golden delicious, gala, fuji, granny smith, braeburn, honey crisp, cripps pink (sometimes sold under the trademark name Pink Lady) and cameo.
Our most famous apple, the red delicious, represents about 30% of apples grown in the state, but accounts for 48% of apples exported to other countries.
Select apples that feel firm and have no punctures, bruises or soft spots. Skin should be smooth and shiny. Apples keep best if refrigerated at about 32 degrees Fahrenheit. A big bowl of apples on the countertop is beautiful, but will not stay fresh and crisp as long.
Apples are the ultimate in convenience food. No preparation other than washing is required. However, apples are versatile and can be used in a variety of dishes both raw and cooked. For recipes look here: http://www.bestapples.com/recipes/index.aspx
Washington also grows nearly 48% of the US supply of pears on 24,000 acres, nearly half of them are Bartletts.
Each pear variety has a distinctive character, texture, and flavor. In Washington, we grow many varieties: red and green anjou, red and green bartlett, bosc, comice, concord, seckle, and starkrimson.
Pears are one of the few fruits that do not ripen on the tree.
Look for smooth, unblemished skins. Pears are harvested fully mature, but unripe and should be quite firm when you purchase them. Let your pear ripen at room temperature, checking daily for ripeness. To see when it’s ripe, press gently on the neck of the pear. If it gives slightly, it is ripe. If you wait until the body of the pear is soft, it will be over-ripe.
Pears can be used in any way an apple might be used. They can also be poached, grilled or baked. Different varieties of pears are more suited to particular preparation methods, so make sure the pears you have are well suited to how you would like to use them. Visit www.usapears.org for recipes.