The Foodscope: Asian Pears


Have you ever bitten into a sweet, crisp, and juicy asian pear? Your first-ever taste will make your brain spin.

*Cue scene*

“Wait,” Billie says to Bob, chewing slowly on what he thinks is an extra-large, speckly apple but is actually a ripe slice of an asian pear.  “Is this an apple? Or a pear? The taste tells me pear, but the texture tells me apple! By golly, I’m confused…”

Bob shakes his head and places a hand on his friend’s shoulder. “Billie,” he says, wisdom hiding in the crinkles of his old, worn eyes, “It’s a pyrus pyrifolia.”

“What in the name of—”

“You may know it as an asian pear.”

“Bob, I ain’t ever heard of such a thang. In all my fifty-seven years, I ain’t ever tasted somethin’ like this here crispy pear.”

And it was on that sunny autumn day, dear reader, that Billie discovered a fruit that would forever change his life.

*End scene*

The asian pear originated in Japan, first cultivated in the 6th century. It didn’t reach the US until the 1800s, however, and is still not widely popular or available. I recently picked up an asian pear at Costco, but can never seem to find them at Publix or Bi-Lo. If you do plan to search for them whilst on your next grocery adventure, look for a squat, greenish-yellow, speckled fruit. They’re firm to the touch, have a crunchy texture, and are less sweet than an apple. They’re in season now (from September until the beginning of Spring), so if you find one, grab that sucker while you can!

There are over 1,000 varieties of asian pears. Think that’s a lot? Think again. There are over 3,000 varieties of pears and over 7,500 varieties of apples. Mind you, our grocery stores don’t carry that much diversity. You’ll have to scout for funky fruit varieties out in the wild.

Curious about what to do with those asian pears? Besides being delicious on their own, grate one up and add to a salad for a sweet, refreshing twist. They pear grate with toasted pecans, arugula, and citrus. Here’s a recipe for an asian pear salad.

Need to bring a dish to a family get-together but are sick of the same ol’ thang? Whip up this an asian pear crisp for the pearfect dessert. 

Have you ever cooked (or baked) with asian pears? What’s your go-to recipe?

Want more Foodscope? Read these → All About Carrots + All About Bagels + All About Mushrooms

Sources: Specialty Produce, The Fruit Company


Gigi Nally