The Ambiguous Asian Pear

September 14th, 2009

Asian pearThe Asian pear is proof that you can’t judge a fruit by its shape. A cousin of the traditional European pear, the Asian pear has the shape and crunch of an apple, while maintaining the pear’s coarse texture and sweet flavor. The enigmatic fruit is also referred to as the apple pear, causing curious consumers to take a bite and wonder, "Is it an apple? Or is it a pear?’

There are several different types of Asian pears, ranging in color from brownish red to yellowish green. However, the nutritional benefits of each variety remain the same — if you’re looking for a plentiful source of vitamin B, vitamin C, iron and dietary fiber, the Asian pear is the way to go. But don’t be fooled at the grocery store. Unlike the traditional pear, the Asian pear is still firm when it’s ripe, so when making your selection, instead of squeezing the fruit, try smelling it for sweetness.

Asian pears can be substituted for apples or traditional pears in most recipes. So for a little extra crunch, try using Asian pears in our Beet, Pear and Endive Salad. When using Asian pears in salads it’s important to remember to dip them in water and lemon juice first to prevent discoloration of the fruit. The sweet Asian pear also mixes well with hot flavors, so spice up your condiment collection with some Asian Pear Chilie Slaw or Mango Lime Salsa.