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Pear Bars Capture Orchard-Fresh
Flavor By Marcia
December 12, 2002
Pear bars, a tasty new treat from
Agricultural Research Service scientists
and pear growers in the Pacific Northwest, capture the fresh flavor of this
favorite fruit. The all-fruit, all-natural bars stay soft and chewy without the
need for artificial preservatives.
ARS food technologist Tara H. McHugh at the agency's
Western Regional Research Center, Albany,
Calif., worked with colleague Charles C. Huxsoll, formerly an agricultural
engineer at the Center and now retired, to develop the technology for making a
100-percent fruit bar. McHugh is leader of the
Foods Research Unit at Albany.
The bars, about the size of a typical granola bar but a bit
slimmer, will be made and marketed by HR Mtn. Sun, Inc., of Hood River, Ore.
The company has a license for the technology from the
U.S. Department of Agriculture. Under terms
of a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement, company specialists are
working with McHugh's team to study the storage properties of the pear bar and
ready the food-making process for production.
Plans call for the pear-bar product line to include not only a
rich, all-pear bar--with bits of dried, diced pears for added texture--but also
a flavorful pear-blueberry bar and a zesty pear-cranberry bar. All will be a
boon to the region's producers, as well as to consumers looking for a new way
to enjoy these perishable fruits year-round.
The technique for producing the bars is fast, easy,
energy-efficient and relatively inexpensive, according to McHugh. First, pears
are processed into puree and concentrate to capture their freshness and flavor.
After the rush to ship fresh-market pears to buyers nationwide and overseas
subsides, the puree is either spray- or drum-dried, then mixed with the
concentrate. Next, the mixture is shaped into bars using a standard piece of
food-processing equipment known as an extruder. McHugh and Huxsoll have
received a patent for their invention.
Like fresh pears, pear bars provide fiber, vitamin C and several
minerals, including iron and potassium.
are in the December
issue of Agricultural
ARS is the USDA's chief scientific research agency.