I don’t care if the Autumnal Equinox isn’t until Wednesday (Sept. 23). There’s no denying it, fall is here. I can feel it wafting in on the cool air that’s coming through the window as I type this. Air crisp enough to make me rethink the shorts and T-shirt I’m sporting right now.
And while we’re sad to see summer go, let’s stop fighting the changing seasons. Instead, embrace fall and the flavors it brings.
Now I know everyone thinks apples when autumn arrives, but let’s not forget about pears. (Actually, pears are in season year-round, but are in abundance come fall.)
Right now you’re seeing a lot of Bartletts in supermarkets, but there are a lot of varieties of the fruit: Bosc, (Red and Green) Anjou, Red Bartlett, Concorde and Comice, to name a few.
Pears are an excellent source of fiber and provide a good amount of vitamin C, according to USA Pears. A medium pear is 100 calories. Let me digress a bit to talk about those calories. Sure you can get those packaged 100-calorie snacks. But they are highly processed and I contend they lack staying power. Often they have a lot of added sugar, which just shoots your blood sugar up only to crash not long after eating. Now, a medium pear still provides 100 calories, but because of the fiber, the natural sweetness within goes through your body slowly. Look at those medium pears in the supermarket. They’re really pretty big. I’ll bet they fill you up more than those packaged snacks.
OK, let me get back on track. Here’s a recipe from USA Pears for hummus with a twist. A culinary student — Samuel Caron of Centre Calixa-Lavallee, Quebec, Canada — created it for one of USA Pears competitions.
Pear Hummus. PHOTO COURTESY USA PEARS
This is beyond easy. Just a little chopping of the pears and then tossing everything into the blender. The result is a hummus complemented by the subtle sweetness of the pears.
Of course this would work great as a party appetizer. But, here’s another idea. Make a batch and put a container of it in your child’s lunch along with some cut-up veggies. Here’s why I like this idea. Kids think of dip of any sort as fun food; eating this will make them feel cool in front of their friends. And, they’ll be thinking: look, I’ve got my parents fooled into considering dip is good for lunch. No need to let them know what a good-for-you recipe this is. It’ll be our secret.
MAKES ABOUT 1 CUP
1 cup chickpeas
Olive oil, salt and pepper to taste.
Coarsely chop pears, then blend all ingredients in a blender.
Samuel Caron for USA Pears
TOP PHOTO: Shauna Bittle~Sun-Times Media