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Taste Test: Canned pears

One of our panelists used to serve canned pears to her children at least once a week. After our tasting, she said she was feeling a bit ashamed of herself. In the future, if she can't find fresh pears, she said she would offer her children another type of fruit. It was a reader who asked Taster's Choice to help in her search for a good canned pear. Unfortunately, our judges didn't have much luck either. But we did compare the six brands we found at local grocery stores.

Kathy Saunders, Times correspondent
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Product/Score (out of 100) GFS (Gordon Food Service) Marketplace /60 Del Monte/48 Great Value/34
How'd it look? Plump and full. The largest of the group. Nicely pear-shaped and smooth. Small and not perfectly pear-shaped.
Judges' comments These pears were firm and were a nice size for a salad. "They have a sweet and mellow flavor," said one judge. "They are the best by far," she added. Another panelist described the taste as "autumnlike." "These are soft but not mushy," said judges. All of them liked the sweet flavor and creamy color. "This would make a great presentation on a salad plate," said one panelist. They are firm and fresh but not too tasty. One judge used the term "lifeless" to describe the flavor.
Would they buy? All four judges said yes. Two of the four judges said yes. None of the judges said yes.
Shopping information $6.29 for a gallon at Gordon Food Service Marketplace. $1.89 for a 15-ounce can at Publix. 98 cents for a 15-ounce can at Wal-Mart.
Also sampled: Publix ($1.23 for a 15-ounce can, 29 points); Hannaford (99 cents for an 8.35-ounce can at Sweetbay, 25 points); and Winn-Dixie ($1.25 for a 15-ounce can, 30 points).

Panelists: Nan Jensen, registered dietitian with Pinellas County Cooperative Extension; Jim Yockey, aesthetician at Anu You Institute; Rhonda Sanderford of Yes-Homes, Smith & Associates Real Estate; and Julie Overton, consumer and mother of four.

Send suggestions for product testing to: Taste section, St. Petersburg Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731 or e-mail them to jkeeler@sptimes.com. Please put TEST SUGGESTION in the subject line. To read past Taster's Choice columns, go to food.tampabay.com.

Taste Test: Canned pears 12/09/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, December 10, 2008 5:39pm]
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