© Denzil Green
Bosc Pears have the classic pear shape — elongated, bird-like neck atop a full, bell-shaped base. Their russetted skin is browny-gold. Inside, the flesh is creamy-white with an almost spicy taste at times.
They are very good cooking pears. They are sold firmer than Bartletts or Anjous because they can be harvested and eaten earlier than either. Bosc Pears develop their juiciness and flavour very early in the ripening process. Because of this, they hold their shape very well when cooked.
Varieties include Beurré Bosc, Calabasse Bosc, and Beurré d’Appremont. Other pears such as Comice, Orcs and Shipova are the best cross-pollinators for the Bosc trees.
In America, they thrive in the Northwest states such as Oregon and Washington.
To tell if a Bosc is ripe, press the stem to see if it goes in a bit. Because they are firmer than other pears, you won’t feel as much give as you would with other pears. Sometimes under the russeting there will be a green cast that will turn more yellowish as the fruit matures, but not always, so colour is not a reliable indicator of ripeness. The best indication of ripeness is to smell them: they should be fragrant.
As with all pears, remove skin before cooking as it will go tough. Dip peeled pears in lemon water to stop the flesh from browning.
Commercially, Bosc Pears are good keepers. They can keep in store houses for up to 6 months. At home, store in a plastic bag in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Bosc are from Belgium or France. The Belgian origin version has them developing as a chance seedling raised in Belgium, in 1807, by a Mr M. Bosc. The French origin version has them being found as a chance seedling around 1830 in Appremont, France, and their being named after a M. Bosc, director of the Botanical Garden in Paris.
Bosc Pears were introduced to the eastern seaboard of America very early in the 1830s, probably 1832 or 1833, and were bearing fruit by 1836.