The Benefits of Ginger: Wine-Poached Pears

Warming ginger jazzes up winter foods.


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Serves 4

It’s no wonder fresh ginger tastes pungent. It contains a family of molecules called gingerols that are structurally related to capsaicin, the compound responsible for the hot bite of chiles.

Simmering pears in red wine turns them into a warm and elegant dessert.

• 1 1/4 cups red wine
• 1/2 cup sugar
• 1/2 cup peeled, fresh ginger slices (not minced)
• 4 ripe but firm pears

1. Select a noncorrosive skillet or saucepan with a fitted lid, large enough for 8 pear halves, sliced lengthwise, to line the pan. If you don’t have a pan large enough, cook the fruit in two batches in smaller pans.

2. Combine the wine, sugar, and ginger in the pan. Simmer over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. While the mixture heats, carefully core, peel, and halve the pears, lengthwise.

3. Arrange the pears, cut side down, in the simmering liquid. Cover the pan, reduce the heat to low, and cook, spooning the liquid over the fruit several times, until the pears are barely tender when pierced with a knife, about 10 to 20 minutes.

4. Carefully transfer the fruit to a serving bowl. Pour the syrup over the fruit; cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours. Remove the ginger slices just before serving.

Cornelia Carlson holds a Ph.D. in biochemistry and is an avid grower and user of herbs. She writes frequently for Herbs for Health and is the author of The Practically Meatless Gourmet, (Berkley, 1996). She writes from her home in Tucson, Arizona.

Click here for the main article, The Benefits of Ginger .