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What Is An Asian Pear? Is It Really A Pear?

Curious about what an Asian pear is? Are they really pears? We will tell you all about Asian Pears, their other names, their history, what they taste like, and more!

Curious about what an Asian pear is? We will tell you all about Asian Pears, their other names, their history, what they taste like, and more!

The sand pear was first brought to the United States in 1820 when it was shipped to Flushing, New York, via the Silk Road. 

Other parts of Asia and Europe have since been introduced to the crisp fruits. 

Japanese and Chinese pears have been grown for over 3,000 years, making Asian pear origin remarkable, knowing they’re also one of the oldest fruits in the world.

Immigrants from China and Japan to California during the Gold Rush brought Asian pears to the west coast of the United States in the 1850s. 

Despite this, Asian pears are still widely grown throughout Asia, with the majority of them being produced in Japan, China, and Korea (where round pear is common). 

Today, people often combine the versatile ingredient with complimentary fruits, vegetables, and dairies such as grapes, apples, coconut, radishes, cheese, creme fraiche, and so much more.

Learn everything you need to know about this Asian gem in this comprehensive FAQ guide, including its difference from the regular pear, flavor profile, and culinary applications. 

What is an Asian pear?

Contents

Asian pears are an ancient fruit that belongs to the Rosaceae or rose family. 

They’re rich in flavor—and described as sweet-tart with a crunchy and firm texture. 

Moreover, the delicious fruit is expensive since it requires extensive cultivation. 

Aside from Asia, the edible fruit is also grown in Chile, Australia, New Zealand, Italy, Spain, and France, to name a few. 

There is a significant amount of commercial production in California and Oregon, with smaller amounts coming from Washington State and other states in the Midwestern and Eastern regions.

A farmer’s markets, select supermarkets, and specialty grocers in your area, you’ll find Asian peaches.

Pears from Asia were once thought to ward off bad luck in Japan. 

As a symbol of protection for the family, these large trees were often planted in front of house gates, and they were also grown in the corners of properties as a hedge against the evil eye. 

Today, Asian pears are given as gifts to friends and family to symbolize the upcoming holiday season. 

The large, delicate fruits are individually wrapped in Styrofoam to ensure their safety, and only the best-looking, best-shaped, and best-smelling fruits are chosen for gifting. 

In keeping with the Japanese philosophy of eating in harmony with the seasons, seasonal fruits are also traditionally given as gifts.

What’s the difference between an Asian pear and a regular pear?

An Asian pear has a distinct, but not overpowering, pear flavor and a crisp texture, much like an excellent apple. 

For this reason, many Asian pear varieties are also called “apple pears” because they share many characteristics with apples (taste, Asian pear texture, and shape). 

In addition to “sand pears,” they’re sometimes referred to as “salad pears.” 

Crisp, sometimes grittier, and usually Asian pear flavor comes off primarily sweet. Their flesh is a pleasure to eat. 

The buttery flesh of European pears is missing from these pears. 

Asian pears have brown skin, which is entirely edible. 

However, feel free to peel its skin off if you don’t like them—it’s totally up to you!

Unlike European pears, Asian pears ripen on the tree, and there’s no need for them to be kept in cold storage. 

Asian pears are ready for harvest when you can easily lift and twist them from the spur or branch. 

Is an Asian pear the same as an apple-pear?

Pyrus pyrifolia, the scientific name for Asian pears, is a flowering plant in the Rosaceae family. 

The term “Asian pear” describes a wide range of pears from Eastern Asia, each with a slightly different shape and color. 

Asian pears, also known as Nashi, Japanese pear, Sand pear, Chinese pear, and Apple pear, ripen on the tree and retain their crisp texture long after being harvested, unlike European peers, which mature in the field and lose their crispness after harvest. 

Due to their extensive cultivation requirements, Asian pears have historically been more expensive on global markets. 

Hand-thinning Asian pear trees are necessary to ensure a large harvest. 

Because of the fruit’s proneness to bruising and discoloration, foam net bags protect many varieties’ delicate skin. 

The cultivation of Asian pears is expanding worldwide due to consumer demand for the fruit’s crisp texture and subtle sweetness.

When are Asian pears in season?

Asian pears are in season from September to November, so you can expect to see them in stores. 

Asian grocery stores are the most common, but larger supermarkets in the United States are starting to carry them. 

Because they bruise easily, they are frequently shipped in individual cushions.

What is the texture of Asian pear?

Depending on the variety, Asian pears can be divided into three general categories: Japanese, Chinese, and Korean. 

The Japanese variety, generally described as round or ovate, has skin that ripens from green to yellow and is russeted, gold to bronze in color. 

Meanwhile, the Chinese-Asian pear features a round to oval shape and rusty, gold to bronze color.  

The third variety of Asian pear is oval and has green skin with patches of brown russet. 

Furthermore, it is thought to be indigenous to China. 

No matter the variety, most Asian pears often feature a textured, semi-rough skin with lenticels across the firm surface.

Under the skin, the ivory to white flesh has a slightly grainy texture with a fibrous core that contains several tiny, black-brown seeds.

How does an Asian pear taste?

Pears from Asia are aromatic and sweet-tart, with floral notes and low acidity, making them ideal for dessert. 

They’re fully ripened on the tree, so they are ready to eat at harvest time.

Once picked, Asian pears retain their firm texture and can stay good to eat in the refrigerator’s vegetable drawer for months.

How to eat Asian pears

Room temperature or chilled, these crisp, juicy fruits are a refreshing treat. 

In addition to baking, steaming, and poaching, Asian pears work well in raw and cooked forms. 

Crunchy pear texture, aqueous nature, and sweet flavor are highlighted when eaten raw and in their natural state. 

Slicing the flesh and adding it to salads, making coleslaw, cubing it for fruit salad, and juicing it are the most common ways to eat it. 

Also, Asian pears can be used as a garnish or hollowed out and filled with hot drinks as an edible mug. 

Asian pears can be used raw in stir-fries, slow-cooked in a sweet sauce for short ribs, hollowed out, and filled with dried fruit and nuts before baking. 

These baked Asian pears can be served with roasted meats or added to baked goods like crisps, muffins, tarts, and quick bread, among other things. 

In addition to preserving their crisp texture and slightly different flavor from European pears, you can slice and dehydrate them, coat them in warm spices, or can them with lemon juice for later use. 

Spices like nutmeg, cinnamon, fennel, five-spice; nuts like macadamia, cashews, almonds; honey; vanilla; chocolate; celery; dark leafy greens; and sweet potato all work well with Asian pears.

Asian pear recipes

When you have Asian pears around your kitchen and figure out Asian pear uses, it’s always a great idea to turn them into delectable dishes. 

Here are some Asian pear recipes you can recreate with your pears:

Raw Asian pears are already delicious because they are crisp and juicy. 

But they are as scrumptious as cooked, like in this Asian pear crisp recipe. 

Fun fact: Anjou pears and Bosc pears are the best baking pears, but any Asian pear can be used in this recipe. 

Garam masala and warm cardamom add a spicy note to this crisp; you can substitute cinnamon instead if you don’t want to use it (or your spice rack). 

As with whole wheat pastry flour, an equal amount of all-purpose flour or rolled oats can be used to achieve the same result.

Whip it with some ice cream or whipped cream and enjoy this delightful treat.

The pears are adorned with brown sugar, vanilla extract, fresh lemon juice, and zest. 

The delicate floral and citrusy flavor of the cardamom whipped cream complements the tart lemon in this pie.

Finally, the crust can benefit from adding rice vinegar and whole-wheat flour, both of which contribute to the flakiness and flavor of the galette. 

Sweetness abounds, but so make savory notes and a nutty undertone.

Use a parchment-covered baking sheet for this recipe’s instructions. 

The benefits of aluminum foil are also numerous. 

Forming vertical-looking walls with foil around the galette crust is easy (in case the fruit wants to bleed out and burn on the pan). 

There will be no burning, and any rogue juices will be contained so that they can eventually reduce and caramelize around its outer crust edges.

Cut the top quarter of an Asian pear in half, then remove the core with a spoon. 

The hollow should be filled with rock sugar or honey and some dried goji berries; then, the sliced portion should be placed on the fruit. 

You’ll need to cook the pear for this recipe for 45 minutes. 

You’ll find sweet and juicy Goji Berries in the middle of the pear.

The Hasselback method is an excellent fit for these juicy pears because they’re so firm.

And the flavors that are absorbed into the pears are simply divine. When rosemary is paired with sweetness, the result is truly exceptional.

Don’t you think they’d make a festive dessert? It does take some time, but I believe the effort is well worth it.

It’s up to you to make your own and see if they’re a good fit.

An apple-and-pear salad was created with pomegranate seeds (as well as pine nuts and maple syrup), a drizzle of yogurt, and some maple syrup drizzled on top.

Crunchy Apple-Pear Salad with Pomegranate, Pine Nuts & Yogurt is reminiscent of a classic Waldorf salad when everything is mixed together on the plate. 

On the other hand, this salad will be a show-stopper at your holiday dinner table, unlike the Waldorf.

My mouth is watering just thinking about it. 

The cake was moist and dense, with just the right springiness and sweetness.
 
Traditional clafoutis is topped with powdered sugar, but this one didn’t need it because the fruit was already quite sweet. 

It’s good to sprinkle some sugar on the cherries if they’re a bit tart.

Bake this for your friends to show off your culinary prowess.

Puff pastry makes this apple-pear tart simple because the dough is already made for you. 

The fruit filling caramelizes into a delicious, swoon-inducing treat in the oven.

As a result, puff pastry makes the recipe extremely simple when you don’t have the time. 

Toss the fruit with some spices and then layer it on the puff pastry.

Also, the puff pastry is fantastic. 
Everything about this dish screams “Delicious!”

It’s easy to customize, and you can use any fruit filling you like.

It is a comforting and indulgent dessert ideal for the fall season.

One of the most simple and delicious desserts ever!

Asian Pear and Smoked Sausage Flatbread Pizza also feature red onions with fresh thyme and olive oil, all baked on Fontina cheese in the middle.

No kneading is required for this pizza dough. 

When making bread, the first step is to mix flour, yeast, salt, and a small amount of sugar. 

After that, you can either use a spoon or your hands to mix in some water and olive oil quickly.

Let the dough rest for about two hours before shaping and topping. It’s simple to double the number of ingredients.

Later on, place the toppings, then bake.

Afterward, feel free to put some crushed red pepper before serving!

Want more Asian pear inspiration? Check out our 21 Versatile Delish Ideas and 15 Salad Recipes featuring Asian pear.

The bottom line

That’s it! I know you learn something new today and spark your culinary imagination involving Asian pears. 

And since you already unlocked some Asian pear recipes, why not give them a try now? 

But before you proceed to make these treats, keep in mind that Asian pears, whole and unwashed, will keep for one to two weeks at room temperature. 

Meanwhile, they can last for up to three months in the refrigerator if properly stored. 

To extend their shelf life, they can be cut into slices and frozen for 12 months.

Fruits that are mushy, bruised, or otherwise imperfect should not be kept in the refrigerator, where they will quickly go wrong.