Veggies ‘Pear’ Well With This Dip

Pears are rich in fiber and contain copper and potassium DIANA HELFAND PHOTO

Pears are rich in fiber and contain copper and potassium

Kaneohe resident Chuck Markpol has been a “Double Agent” for the past eight years with Geek Squad at Best Buy in Aiea, where he specializes in all aspects of home theater setup and repair.

Chuck is a graduate of Castle High School and has a degree in liberal arts from Windward Community College. He and wife Lehua, a teacher at Kalakaua Middle School in Kalihi, have been married six years. The Markpols love spending quality time with their son Landon, 18 months, and enjoy beach activities and water sports whenever they get the chance.

This recipe is dedicated to the Markpols, a young, productive family.

Pears are native to the northern regions of central Asia, where they were found growing wild as far back as prehistoric times. Pears were revered by ancient Egyptians, Greeks, Romans and Chinese, and have been cul- tivated for 3,000 years. As a result of cross pollination, hundreds of varieties exist today. Three varieties that are found most in Hawaii are:

Anjou: This variety origi- nated in France and is a medi- um size with a short neck. The flesh is very juicy and it has a fine texture.

Bartlett: Known in Europe as the Williams pear, this English variety was intro- duced into the U.S. by Enoch Bartlett of Massachusetts. The skin is golden when ripe, and the flesh is aromatic and good for baking.

Bosc: Originally from Belgium, the skin of this pears thicker and coarser than the above varieties, and is brown with some yellow. It has a long, thin neck and juicy white flesh that is slightly granular in texture. It is a good pear for eating and poaching.

Pears are rich in fiber and contain copper and potassi- um. The nutrients in dried pears are much more concen- trated; they are rich in potas- sium, and a good source of copper and iron, in addition to containing phosphorus, vitamin C, magnesium and sodium. Ripe pears are said to have diuretic and sedative qualities.

For a unique combination of flavors, serve this spicy- sweet dip with a platter of sliced green and red bell peppers, carrot sticks, celery sticks, and broccoli and cauliflower florets.

• 1 1/2 cups grated pear (any variety, I like Bosc)
• 1 1/2 cups fat-free ranch dressing
• 1 tablespoon wasabi
• 1/4 teaspoon each cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice • 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
salt and pepper, to taste

Combine all ingredients and chill for about an hour.
Makes about 20 servings.

Approximate Nutrition Information Per Serving:
Calories: 40
Fat: 0.5 grams
Sodium: 230 milligrams Cholesterol: 2 milligrams