Looking to add a new fruit to spice up your meals? Meet the Asian pear! This crunchy and sweet tree fruit is often referred to as “apple pears” because of their shape or “sand pears” due to their golden brown color. With an appearance like an apple-pear hybrid, Asian pears come in more than 100 varieties. The texture is closer to that of an apple than a pear. They are crisp, crunchy and very, very juicy. They have a lightly sweet melon-like flavor that you will go bananas for.
Unlike regular pears, Asian pears are sold ripe. You want to choose one that is firm like an apple. They should be crisp, but not hard. They will maintain their crispy texture for a while after being picked. You can store them at room temperature if you plan to eat them soon. If not, refrigerate them as they will continue to ripen with time. Since they bruise easily, they are often sold in a foam net sweater for protection. Handle with care when transporting these sensitive little guys home.
Wash the pear gently under cold tap water handling with care as they bruise easily. Gently rub the skin while under running water.
Cut the pear in half. Then cut out the middle, or core, of the pear. The core contains seeds, much like an apple. Next, cut the pear halves into slices.
You can eat a raw Asian pear with or without the skin. Slice it like you would an apple, or enjoy the fruit whole.
Asian pears are delicious when included in your favorite recipes. Cut them up and add them to salads for a sweet and refreshing crunch. They also go great sliced with cheese platters. You can bake them into desserts such as pies, tarts, crisps or crumbles. They also taste great sautéed, pureed, roasted or baked into chips.
Peeled vs Unpeeled
Eating the skin of an Asian pear is a good source of fiber. The skin of most brown varieties of Asian Pears are edible, however they are thick and tough, so these fruits are best eaten peeled. If eating the peel, it is easier eaten in slices.
How to Peel
Peel Asian pears like you would an apple. You can use either a paring knife or a vegetable peeler. Start at the base and peel as you turn the pear.
For some delicious homemade sweet treats, try Asian pear pie or Asian pear crisps a la mode. For a healthy meal, make a salad with goat cheese and arugula and nuts or seeds. Asian Pears are high in fiber and rich in potassium, vitamin C and antioxidants.
Include these delicious fruits in your children's lunch boxes, family meals or dazzle guests with your new Asian pear-inspired recipes. “Pear” these with your favorite foods to add a sweet, toothsome crunch to sweet or savory dishes!
- The Los Angeles Times: Asian Pears are in Season
- Food & Wine: Asian Pear and Arugula Salad with Goat Cheese
- Dang That's Delicious: Asian Pear Crisp with Vanilla Ice Cream
- Betty Crocker: Asia Pear Pie
- National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health: Systematic Review of Pears and Health