Worldwide, there are more than 5,000 varieties of pears with more than 100 grown in the United States. Check your local farmer’s market for exotic and heirloom varieties. Look for ripe and fragrant, but firm, pears. In this recipe, dried fruit and water create a succulent syrup infused with the licorice-like flavor of anise. For a fancier presentation, garnish each serving with toasted, chopped pecans, hazelnuts, or almonds.
- 1/3 cup unsulphured raisins
- 1/3 cup dried unsulphured apricots or prunes, halved
- 1 tablespoon whole anise seeds or ground anise powder
- 6 medium-large ripe pears, halved, cored, and cut into 2-inch pieces
- 1/3 to 1/2 cup filtered water
- 1/2 teaspoon grated orange or lemon rind
- 1 tablespoon arrowroot powder dissolved in 3 tablespoons cold water, optional
- 1/3 cup lightly toasted nuts, coarsely chopped, optional
1. Layer the dried fruits, anise, and sliced pears in a 3-quart pot. Add water to barely cover the bottom of the pot. The pears will release more water as they cook.
2. Cover the pot and bring the water to a boil over medium heat without stirring.
3. Reduce the heat and simmer, undisturbed, until tender, about 20 to 25 minutes, then remove the lid and stir gently. If much liquid remains, add the arrowroot mixture, then simmer and stir until thick, about 3 minutes.
Serve warm or chilled. Garnish with nuts if desired. Refrigerate and use within 5 days.
To make a variation of this recipe, Stewed Pears with Ginger, substitute 1 to 2 tablespoons of peeled, finely minced fresh gingerroot for the anise.
One serving, without nuts: 141 calories, 1 g protein, 32 g carbs, 1 g fat, 4 g fiber, 29 mg calcium, 1 mg sodium
Don Matesz has been an avid proponent of alternative medicine and nutrition for more than twenty years. More than two dozen of his articles have appeared in health and fitness magazines. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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