Squeaky Pear

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I'm just about to climb the Grapevine on I-5 South into LA when I get the call on my cell. "Papa," my daughter's voice sounds thin like she's trying to hold back tears. "Is Squeaky with you?" She sucks in a breath and waits. I turn my head slowly and glance in the backseat. There, sitting calmly, is her 5-inch, squat, black and gray penguin (it squeaks, hence the name). Squeaky looks at me like - "Yeah! I am so coming to LA." Hmmm. “I guess he didn't make it out of the car after the party," I say. "You must have forgotten him." She sounds relieved but corrects me. "Papa, I never forget Squeaky. He just wanted to go with you. He wants to be a movie star." Our kids have lost a few stuffed animals in their time but Squeaky is like a stuffed rock-n-roll boomerang. No matter what precarious position he finds himself in, he's always cool and somehow makes it back to my daughter. He's been left under the bed at the Chelsea Hotel in NY, spent months "hibernating" in luggage, fallen into a toilet, and disappeared on airplanes for nearly the entire trip only to pop up again suddenly as if he's just come back after chatting with the pilot. He's a penguin full of moxie who, I can't help but note, is shaped like a pear. Through all his trials and tribulations, he's warmed to me just like a pear ripens-from the inside out.
Fall is pear season. Pears ripen from the inside out so it's important to know how to pick a good pear and understand when it's ready to eat. Here's how: squeeze the pear slightly. Pears that give slightly to the touch are ready to eat- remember the outside will be firmer than the inside so your touch helps judge how far the pear has come already, not how far it still has to go. As a rule of thumb (excuse the pun), this ripening trick applies to those pears that have a traditional bulbous shape and are converting their starches to sugars. As with all rules, there are a few exceptions, such as Asian Apple Pears, which can be eaten firm, and Concorde Pears, a late season pear that can also be eaten firm or fully ripe.
To see Squeaky's pear picks in this week's boxes, check out what's in your mix at www.fruitguys.com -- just click on in the mix for your region. Enjoy and be fruitful! chris@fruitguys.com


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