D’Anjou is the most popular winter pear variety, and a fruit that we take great pride in growing here at Stemilt. Did you know that there are actually two types of pears that go by the name d’Anjou? It’s true, two pears carry the very same French name (pronounced AWN-JU), the same juicy, sweet-citrus flavor profile, and can both be used for a variety of culinary purposes. As similar as these two pears are, they are two completely different varieties with one very apparent feature that sets them apart: their skin color lies on entirely different ends of the color wheel!
Just like their name implies, Green d’Anjou pears have a bright green skin similar to that of Granny Smith apples. They have been around for a long time, and though their history is not completely clear, are believed to have originated in Belgium in the 1800s. The variety is named after the Anjou region of France, and was brought to the U.S. in 1842 by Col. Marshall P. Wilder. He first grew the pear on his estate in Boston. Today, d’Anjou pears are grown in the Pacific Northwest, and if they are from Stemilt, they come from the two best pear locales in the world. You can read more about the locales our Rushing Rivers pears call home in this post.
On the other end of the color spectrum lies the Red d’Anjou pear. This maroon-skinned pear originated in the early 1950s as a bud sport growing on a green d’Anjou tree near Medford, Oregon. A bud sport is a natural mutation of the tree (usually a branch, but could be just a few pears) that often goes unnoticed and rarely yields marketable fruit. However, Red d’Anjou proved to be an exception to the rule and six decades later, is still grown and enjoyed today.
When it comes to using pears in new ways, the unique feature of these d’Anjou and Red d’Anjou – color – can make whatever you create all the more exciting. Together, d’Anjou and Red d’Anjou pears make a beautiful and contrasting tablescape or gift basket. Apart, you can use the color of the fruit to help a recipe or food pairing standout. How do you know whether to choose red or green? Here are 5 ways we love using each pear in order to best highlight each vibrant color:
- Use Red d’Anjou pears in pastries and alongside nuts. The deep red color of the pear pops off the golden hues of baked dough and nuts. These Mini Pear Tartletts are a great recipe to try.
- Go green for appetizer platters filled with crackers or crostini and a variety of gourmet cheeses.
- Choose red for grilling and placing atop a bed of greens and other red colored vegetables, like beets and radicchio. Check out this gourmet Grilled Red d’Anjou Pear and Radicchio Salad.
- Add a touch of green to a creamy white smoothie blend with Green d’Anjou pears, like in this Pear-Almond Milk Smoothie.
- Feature sliced Green d’Anjou pears on a bed of baby arugula dotted with red hues from fresh pomegranate and orange hues from fresh citrus. We show you how with this winter salad recipe.