Ontarians generally accept that certain fruits and vegetables are only available from our local farms for a limited time due to our changing seasons. For instance, strawberries in June, peaches in summer and pears in fall. But the times, they are changing! Just this week, The Premier’s Award for Agri-Innovation recognized Vineland Growers’ Cooperative Ltd. based in Niagara Region for their winter pear, known as the Cold Snap™!
Having launched in grocery stores in 2015, even more trees are now reaching maturity which means we are able to enjoy local pears in the cold, winter months. These special pears are harvested in the fall and held in controlled atmosphere storage so Canadians can enjoy a locally grown pear from their release in November until supplies last, around March.
The Cold Snap™ looks similar to a Bartlett pear, and like a Bartlett, the skin will change from green to yellow as it ripens. The yellow skin is an indication that the flavours have fully developed. Sometimes there is also a blush. The blush is not a sign that the pear is riper, it’s simply had a few more moments in the Canadian sun. Cold Snap™ pears can be found with and without a blush, but all of them are equally delicious!
Though it ripens like a Bartlett, the Cold Snap™ has a longer ripening period – the skin will turn yellow and the flavour will become sweeter, but it is naturally a firmer pear. This is great for pear lovers who prefer a little bite, and for cooks who want a gently sweet pear that will hold its shape, such as poaching or baking.
When the air is crisp, be sure to look out for this new, local treat – the Cold Snap™!
TIP: Like other pears, leave your Cold Snap on the kitchen counter to ripen and store in the fridge when they are ready to enjoy.