Ginger Lemon Pear Mash
Happy fall! Here is a super easy, comforting, and nutrient dense recipe for you to better enjoy this time of year. It’s full of seasonal flavors like pears, warm spice, and ginger, and could not be simpler to make.
We all know about applesauce, but why don’t pears get equal time in the spotlight? They make just as good ‘sauce’ as apples do. I guess pearsauce just doesn’t roll off the tongue like applesauce does. What the two are equal in though is their unphotogenicity. I mean it’s not so easy to make tan mush look good on camera. But hey, it tastes good and that’s what really matters. Especially with the classic BFF flavor trio of ginger, lemon, and pear, you know this one’s a winner.
Pears are high in fiber, with just one pear containing about 6g. General recommendations for fiber intake are 25g for women and 38g for men per day. However, some nutrition experts believe these numbers are too low and more reflect minimal versus optimal intake for good gut health.
The most important role of fiber in the diet is to help keep things moving along down there- as in avoiding serious traffic jams in midtown, if you catch me. Fiber is second most important as the food for our enormous bacterial ecosystem that inhabits our digestive tracts, or our microbiota.
Fiber = prebiotics, bacteria = probiotics.
These beneficial bacteria affect our bodies in so many ways that we are just starting to scrape the surface in understanding. A healthy gut bacteria community can support a healthy weight, good mental health, immunity, and more. Its pretty amazing stuff. What’s really interesting is that everyone has different kinds and amounts of bacteria, and so far research has not been able to support any sort of ‘one size fits all’ picture of what an ideal microbiota looks like.
I could talk and talk about the cool research happening in this area, but I will spare you this time and present the quick summary: Eat real food. Yes, there are tons of pre- and probiotic supplements out there you could take. But, what actually works best is simple, real food high in natural fiber that will best help your microbiota flourish in size and diversity. I know it would be easier to just take a pill or two and call it a day, but the ‘eat your veggies’ advice is not going away any time soon.
Despite what those semi-depressing fiber drink mix ads may have you feeling, fiber is fun! Colorful fruits and veggies are full of it, as are any less refined plant foods like whole grains, nuts, beans, etc. It’s also in this super delicious pear mash that I am sorry for keeping you from making. Enjoy!
Ginger Lemon Pear Mash
Makes about 1.5 cups
4 pears (~190g each)
2 tbs. fresh ginger, minced or grated
½ tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. kosher salt
2 strips lemon zest
2 tbs. lemon juice
2 tbs. water
1 tbs. sugar or honey
Dice pears into ½’’ inch (2.5cm) cubes. Combine with the rest of the ingredients in a medium saucepan. Cover and place on medium low heat. When it begins to bubble, adjust heat as needed to maintain gentle simmering/bubbing. Stir every few minutes to prevent anything from sticking to the bottom. Let cook, keeping covered, for about 30 minutes, or until pears are very tender and falling apart. Remove lemon zest strips. Mash with a spoon as much as you like. You could also let it cool and then blend in a food processor if you want it very smooth.
Serve warm, alone or alongside tons of things like Greek yogurt, ice cream, oats, even meat like roasted chicken or pork. Extras will keep about a week in the fridge.
Notes: Pears don’t have to be ripe as they are getting cooked down so much. Adjust spices as you like-add more or less cinnamon, or throw some nutmeg in there too. Cooking times can vary, so cook for more or less time as you need. Feel free to add a little extra water too if the mixture is getting very dry and sticking while cooking.