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Rocha pears are rather oblong in shape and small or medium in size. The thin skin of this variety starts out light green and ripens to yellow in color with some prominent russetting encompassing the fruit. There is also russetting on the stem end. The flesh inside is white, firm, and crunchy, making it an easy variety to store and ship. Rocha pears are not as juicy as some other varieties, tending to be more dry than juicy. The traditional pear flavor is mild and moderately sweet.
Rocha Pears are available in late summer through spring.
Rocha pears, or Pêra Rocha, are a variety of Pyrus communis native to Portugal. This heritage variety dating to the nineteenth century is grown primarily in the Oeste region of Portugal, and makes up a large percentage of Portuguese pear production.
One medium sized pear contains around 100 calories. Pears have around one quarter of the daily recommended value of fiber, and 10 percent of the daily recommended value of vitamin C, along with other phytonutrients and antioxidants, particularly in the skin.
Rocha pears can be eaten fresh out of hand, cooked, or baked. A traditional Portuguese way to serve Rocha pears is poached in wine, but there are many ways to eat this variety. Since they are firm and dry, they make good additions to lunchboxes. Pair with oats, nuts, honey, Parmesan cheese, or pork for other options. Rocha pears store very well in proper cool, dry conditions.
Rocha pears grown in Portugal have a Protected Designation of Origin status, indicating it is native to a particular small region in Portugal. The Assocation of Growers of Rocha Pears (Associação Nacional de Produtores de Pêra Rocha) have promoted the designation. Small numbers of this variety are grown in other countries, but it is most strongly associated with the Oeste region north of Lisbon.
Portugal can claim to be the birthplace of Rocha pears, dating to the 1830s. The original tree was likely a chance seedling grown on the property of horse dealer Pedro Rocha in Sintra, Porgugal. While Rocha pears continued to be grown in Portugal through the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, their popularity took off in the 1990s when pear production in other parts of Europe declined. Portuguese farmers began producing and exporting more Rocha pears, particularly to the UK and Brazil. Rocha pears grow best in the Oeste region of Portugal. Some are also grown in Argentina and the UK, but they have not been proven to grow well in other pear-growing regions.
Recipes that include Rocha Pears. One is easiest, three is harder.
|Cocoon Cooks||Creamy Pear, Avocado & Frozen Greens Smoothie|
|EPJ Health||Cinnamon Poached Pears|
|Decor and Dine||Rocha Pears in Red Wine|