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curlypearl 10-05-2010 05:30 AM

I'm curious about this
 
Why does a microwaved cut-up pear or squash seems so much more delish and sweet than raw. Does something turn to sugar and caramelize in it? I have to try this with other fruits/veggies, but I wondered if there is some scientific reason that you know of.

I bought a d'anjou pear and ate a slice raw. OK - nothing fabulous. Microwaved slices - mmmmmm. If I were to dot with butter and add a little flour, sugar and cinnamon I think it would be to die for. What makes cooking fruits/veggies so sweet? I'm a totally novice cook and I'm just curious.

wild_sasparilla 10-06-2010 12:49 AM

Was the d'Anjou pear still green? If it was, you're missing out! If you wait for its skin to turn yellow, it'll be soft and juicy and fabulous.

And I would assume that cooking something so full of sugars would cause some to caramelize, but maybe there's something else happening, too.

Saria 10-06-2010 09:22 AM

Well, in terms of the pear, it wasn't ripe. Pears actually have to be picked unripe and left to ripen off the tree, but they're often sold before they're ready, especially by supermarkets (farmers' markets sometimes do, but not as much). When ripe, they're delicious. D'anjou pears in particular are a buttery pear, so they should be just that, as opposed to something like an Asian pear, which is crisp.
Having said that, pears are one of those fruits that take well to cooking and that many prefer cooked.

Cooking in general concentrates sugar, eliminates water, changes texture. If you cook further, the sugars caramelize (Maillard reaction when we're talking about protein taking on color) which provides even more flavor.


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