Combine books and food for fun: Pears

Pears are in season and in your produce section during the winter months. Cuddle up with a child, a book and a pear snack.

During the winter months, citrus fruits seem to take center stage. However, wander to the section were the pears are and you’ll find them in season and available during the winter as well. Together with any children in your life, pick up some pears and also select a pear themed children’s book. Combine and a pear-based recipe with a story involving pears for a fun introduction to a sweet, juicy fruit.

Pears are a good source of vitamin C and dietary fiber. Pears are especially delicious if stored and enjoyed at the peak of ripeness. 

Pears are not picked from the tree when ripe. To ripen pears follow these suggested steps from USA Pears.

  • Leave firm, unripened pears at room temperature.
  • Use your thumb to check the pear’s ripeness at the stem end by applying gentle pressure.  If you are able to check the neck for pripeness daily. When you apply pressure and the pear gives slightly, it’s ready to enjoy.
  • A ripe pear can be refrigerated to slow the ripening process, but should be enjoyed with in five days.

After allowing purchased pears to ripen, plan for story and snack time. To engage toddlers read “Orange Pear Apple Bear” by Emily Gravett, a board book that repeats only five words. This book can be used with the other fruits as well. Also good for young children is “Little Pear Tree” by Rachel Williams, which walks the reader through the seasons with the pear tree. A silly pear themed book that may be enjoyed by older children is “Too Many Pears!” by Jackie French. 

 Michigan State University Extension recommends trying Pear Party Salsa which highlights delicious pears and yummy honey, another of Michigan’s specialy crops. (Note: It is not recommended to give honey to children under one year of age.)

Spend time in the kitchen with children. Peak their interest with a book. Expand on the theme of that book with a trip to the store or maybe just to the refrigerator and find a tasty recipe that children can help prepare. Enjoy trying new foods, new recipes and making new memories with healthy fruits of the season, like pears.

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