Bartlett pears are medium to large in size and are the only pears that have a true pyri-form, or pear shape, which has a rounded large bottom half and tapers to a smaller curved neck with a light brown, slender stem. The skin brightens as it ripens, transforming from green to a golden yellow, and is smooth, firm, and thick with some blushing and russeting. The flesh is aromatic, moist, cream-colored to ivory, and is fine-grained encasing a central core containing a few small, black-brown seeds. When mature but not fully ripe, Bartlett pears are crunchy, tart, and slightly gritty, but when fully ripe, they develop a juicy, smooth, buttery texture with a sweet flavor.
Bartlett pears are available year-round, with peak season in the fall through winter.
Bartlett pears are best suited for both raw and cooked applications such as baking, boiling, and grilling. They can be eaten fresh, out-of-hand, added to salads for a sweet flavor, sliced into wedges and served on cheese boards, or blended into a granita to top ice cream. Bartlett pears can also be layered in sandwiches such as grilled cheese, used as a topping over pizza, or chopped with other fruits and stuffed in poblano chilies in Mexico’s independence day dish known as chilies en noganda. Also, the pears can be smoked over a charcoal grill for added flavor or sliced to add a sweet flavor to cocktails with tequila and mezcal. Bartlett pears also make excellent preserves, syrups, and chutneys, can be dried, and make great additions to cakes, muffins, crisps, and quick bread. Bartlett pears compliment gorgonzola cheese, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, garlic, onions, shallots, poblano chilies, tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, pomegranate seeds, strawberry, apple, spinach, pork, chicken, lamb, oysters, oregano, rosemary, parsley, mint, cilantro, Thai basil, lemongrass, matcha green tea powder, cinnamon, allspice, and honey. They will keep up to three weeks when stored in the refrigerator and a little over one year when stored in the freezer.