For cooking, choose firm pears, such as Bosc and Anjou; creamy Comice taste best uncooked.

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Place whole, peeled Boscs in a saucepan with an inch or two of sweet white wine or freshly squeezed orange juice, lemon peel, and a few whole cloves; simmer, covered, until soft. Serve with whipped cream or frozen yogurt.

Stir pear cubes into chicken salad with curry, toasted slivered almonds, and raisins. Purée ripe, peeled pears and add to squash soup.