The Chinese Pear, also known as Apple-Pear due to its apple-shape, is usually eaten raw and peeled like an apple. It is used as a sweet addition to many dishes in Asian cuisine. The fresh taste resembles pear, pineapple and honey with an Asian touch. The fruit has a high water concentration which makes it less suitable for pies or jams.
Asian pears range in size from small to medium and vary in shape from round, globular, and squat to oval with a bulbous base that tapers into a rounded top. The firm skin can be golden yellow, green, or bronze and may be smooth, have some russeting, or covered in visible lenticels or pores. The flesh is ivory to white and is crunchy, juicy, and creamy with a central fibrous core encasing several small, brown-black seeds. When ripe, Asian pears are crisp with a sweet, floral flavour, low acidity, and a fragrant aroma.
Asian pears are available year-round, with peak season in the early fall through winter.
Asian pears, botanically classified as Pyrus pyrifolia, grow on trees that can reach up to seven meters in height and are members of the Rosaceae or rose, family. There are thousands of different known varieties of Asian pears, each varying slightly in shape and colour, and Asian pears are relatives of the ussuri pear, Pyrus ussuriensis, and the Japanese sand pear, Pyrus serotina. Asian pears are known by many names including Nashi, Japanese pear, Sand pear, Chinese pear, and Apple pear. Unlike regular pears, Asian pears ripen on the tree, are only picked and sold when ripe, and maintain their crisp texture long after being picked. Careful handling must be practised when picking, packing, and transporting Asian pears as their delicate skin bruises and becomes discoloured easily. Asian pears are favoured across the world for their crunchy texture and sweet flesh and are predominately consumed as fresh eating fruit.
Asian pears are a good source of vitamin C, dietary fibre, and vitamin K.