The first mention of pears is pinpointed to Southeast Asian regions. They were first cultivated in Europe around 1000 B.C. Asian pears were cultivated in China as early as 1134 B.C. From these, European pears were developed in around 1,000 B.C. North American pear trees weren’t planted until 1620 in the Massachusetts Bay colony.

While there are nearly 4,000 recorded types of pear trees, the majority are strictly ornamental, leaving only 30 or so as edible.  Asian varieties generally offer a firm, crisp texture, while the European type becomes soft and juicy when allowed to ripen.

While pears can’t boast of any impressive amount of any one nutrient, they do contain a wide array of both vitamins and minerals. In minerals, pears contain good amounts of copper, iron, potassium, manganese, and magnesium, along with B-vitamins like folates, riboflavin, and pyridoxine (vitamin B6). This translates to lowered incidences of painful colitis, arthritis, gallbladder disorders, and gout.  Pears contain 12 percent and 10 percent of the daily value, respectively, in vitamin C, good for fighting infection throughout the body, and vitamin K, for building and maintaining bone strength.

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