The Josephine Pear, a favourite with pear lovers across the country, can be distinguished by its light green skin and oblong shape. It differs to its pear counterparts as it can be eaten straight from the tree, when it is sweet and crunchy. It can also be repined in the fruit bowl until the flesh softens and becomes pale yellow in colour and its flavour is sweet, rich and juicy.
Josephine pears are considered to be niche pears although when in season they are commonly available and can be found in all leading supermarkets. They are considered best when eaten on their own, due to their melt in the mouth texture. They make a delicious snack and a great addition to children's lunchboxes.
Josephine pears are in season from April to November. They are typically grown in the Goulburn valley. Whilst there has been some flooding in the area this year, it has not had a detrimental impact on the 2011 crop.
As with other pears, Josephine pears tend to be a biannual crop, meaning the crops are heavy one year and lighter the next. There was a very heavy pear crop in 2010 so this year's crop is somewhat lighter. As a result, this season may also be a little shorter.
Selection, Handling and Storage
Josephine pears can be eaten straight from the tree and the flesh is sweet and crunchy before they ripen. As the flesh softens, the pears become rich and juicy.
To check if a pear is ripe, simply check the neck. When ready to eat, the flesh around the neck will give when pressed gently.
Pears soften best naturally in the fruit bowl.
To speed the ripening process, place Josephine pears in a brown paper bag with a banana – the natural gases the banana emits will hasten the ripening of the pears.
When pears are ripe, store them in the fridge to keep them fresh.
If pears become extra soft, simply pop them into a soup or smoothie for added richness.
For more information on the Josephine pear visit: www.rediscoverthepear.com.au