Bartletts are the juiciest pears when eaten raw. Seriously. Be careful. They can make a real mess. They are so delicious when ripe and juicy, it's worth the drip-marks on your shirt, but you may feel like you should have a bib on when biting into one of these!
Since Barletts are so juicy, they lose their shape when cooked. Quite completely lose their shape, in fact. Let's put it this way: if you want to make pear sauce or pear butter, Bartletts are the pears for you. They turn to mush at the slightest mention of heat. So if you want to serve elegant poached pears or a pear tart with pretty slices showing, turn to another pear and leave the Bartletts to eat out of hand, with a napkin, of course.
As with all fruit, look for Bartletts that feel heavy for their size. They will have some give with squeezed when ripe – but avoid checking them too much since they bruise easily.
Barlett pears are harvested July through October.
Looking for another type of pear? See this Guide to Types of Pears.