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Carmen pears are medium to large size with a slender bulbous end that slightly tapers to an elongated neck with a small crook at the stem end. The skin is smooth with a yellow-green base and is covered in prominent lenticels and a rosy red blush that covers large portions of the surface. The flesh is ivory to cream-colored, fine, firm, and juicy with low water content and a satisfying crunch. When ripe, Carmen pears have a highly aromatic scent, and although considered a moderately sweet pear, the Carmen also has a bright, balanced acidity.
Carmen pears are available in late summer through winter.
Carmen pears, botanically classified as Pyrus communis, are a European variety and members of the Rosaceae family along with apples and peaches. First created in 1980, Carmen pears are a cross between two Italian varieties, the guyot and bella di giugno, and the fruits typically ripen 20-25 days earlier in the season than other common pears. The variety was later patented in 2006, and Carmen pears are favored for their unusual shape, balanced flavors, and crunchy texture.
Carmen pears are a good source of dietary fiber, potassium, and vitamin C.
Carmen pears are best suited for both raw and cooked applications such as baking, boiling, and grilling. They can be sliced and added to salads with bitter greens, fruit salads, mixed with nuts, or layered with rich cheeses. Carmen pears can also be poached in a sweet vin santo wine aromatized with clove and cinnamon and finished with a scoop of mascarpone. The pears can be placed in sandwiches for added crunch, cubed into pasta, or sliced and served as an afternoon snack. Carmen pears compliment marzipan, almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, amaretto, butter, mascarpone, caramel, endive, cinnamon, vanilla, balsamic vinegar, ginger, honey, lemon, and cheeses such as brie, gorgonzola, Roquefort, parmesan, and goat cheese. They will keep for a couple of days when left at room temperature and will keep 1-2 weeks when stored in the refrigerator.
Carmen pears have increased in popularity because of their unique shape and versatility. In addition to the modern characteristics that have gained them notoriety, they are also known for their traditional name. Following an old breeder’s tradition, Carmen pears are named after the famous opera and join the ranks of other new varieties named after operas including tosca, boheme, aida, norma, and turandot.
Carmen pears were created in Italy in the 1980s, released in 1989, and were patented in 2006. Apart from Italy, Carmen pears can be found at local markets, specialty grocers, and are also being successfully cultivated in North America, Spain, Chile, New Zealand, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, China, Croatia, Europe, Israel, Mexico, Morocco, South Africa, Switzerland, Tunisia, Ukraine and Uruguay
Recipes that include Carmen Pears. One is easiest, three is harder.
|Love & Olive Oil||Prosciutto, Pear, and Goat Cheese Panini|
|Stirring Stew||Blue Cheese, Pear, and Hazelnut Smørrebrød (Danish Open-Faced Sandwich)|