Asian pears are a delightful fruit, combining the shape and crispness of an apple with the grainy texture and mild sweet flavor of a pear. For centuries they have been and continue to be cultivated in China, Japan and Korea. In the United States, three basic types of Asian pears are commonly found:
- Round or flat fruit with green-yellow skin, such as the Japanese 20th Century or Nijisseki
- Round or flat fruit with bronze-colored skin, such as the Japanese Hosui
- Pear-shaped fruit with green or russet skin, such as Ya Li, a Chinese variety
No matter what you call them (nashi, Japanese pears, Chinese pears, or apple pears) or what variety you choose, Asian pears are definitely a fruit to try.
Selection and Storage
When selecting Asian pears, choose firm, fragrant, unbruised fruit with little to no brown spots. Unlike European pears (eg: Barlett) that are ripened after harvest and served soft, ripe Asian pears do not soften and are ready to enjoy when purchased.
Asian pears are known for keeping well. Carefully wrap Asian pears to prevent the fruit from bruising. They can be kept at room temperature for about a week or up to three months in the refrigerator.
Asian pears are ready-to-eat and best eaten out of hand, like an apple. It’s mildly-flavored crisp inner flesh is a perfect addition to many fruit and savory salads. They are also excellent served with a cheeseboard or blended in a smoothie. In most recipes, you can use Asian pears in place of apples or pears, especially if they are called for raw.
While Asian pears are typically served raw and peeled, they can also be found in some baked cakes and tarts or even poached. Try this for a light quick dessert: Cut in half and scoop out the center seeds. Then, heat slightly in the oven and serve with honey.
- Apple, Asian Pear, and Toasted Walnut Haroseth
- Asian Pear and Pistachio Salad with Apple Cider Vinaigrette
- Bean Thread Noodles with Beef and Asian Pear
- Lamb Chops with Asian Pear and Kiwi Salsa
- Prosciutto and Asian Pear ‘Sushi’