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wildpotato's avatar

How do I pick a good asian pear?

Asked by wildpotato (14959points) July 3rd, 2009

Asian pears. Half the time they’re delicious; half the time they seem to be imitation styrofoam. Doesn’t make any difference where I get them. Anyone know a trick to finding the good ones?

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10 Answers

casheroo's avatar

Chef hubby says it’s a potluck, maybe a specific brand but there’s still a lot of variation.

ratboy's avatar

Taste before buying.

YARNLADY's avatar

I agree with @casheroo each pear has it’s own flavor, or not, and there is really no way to tell. You can try for softness, or smell, but in the long run, it’s pure luck.

AstroChuck's avatar

Tera Patrick has a good Asian pear pair.

Bluefreedom's avatar

Play it safe and switch to apples or oranges.

Blondesjon's avatar

You pick it, ripe, from the tree.

wundayatta's avatar

There are a number of varieties of Asian Pear. The North Star Farm lists them:

*Atago: Very large, reddish in color. Mildly sweet and crispy, with hints of walnut. Japanese variety. Late October.

Hosui: Medium sized, firm, sweet, melt in your mouth texture. Japanese variety. Late August.

~Ichiban: Medium sized, rich flavor. Sweet, with hints of butterscotch. Early August.

Niitaka: Large, quite crispy, sweet and juicy. Has a more mild, somewhat nutty flavor. Japanese variety. October.

Olympic: Very large, crisp/crunchy, very sweet and juicy. Korean variety. Early October.

~Shinsui: Small, crisp, and super-sweet. Japanese variety. Early August.

Yoinashi: Medium sized, crisp and sweet with hints of butterscotch. Japanese variety. Mid-September.

I tend to get the Hosui or Yoinashi, since the others are rarer, and tend not to show up at my market. These pears are picked fresh, and always are crisp, juicy and fairly flavorful. They never taste like styrofoam, anyway.

I wouldn’t trust any pear from a supermarket, though. I’d go to the Union Square market, and find a someone who has a pretty good Orchard, and buy them there. You buy them only in August and September. They can be stored in cold storage for a while, but fairly soon, they’re not very good.

Here’s what the farm has to say about the care of Asian Pears:

Refrigerate and humidify (keep in a loosely closed plastic bag). No extra ripening time is needed. Asian pears, like apples, should not be left in a fruit bowl for more than a day or two, and they are best eaten straight out of the fridge.

Very large Asian pears can be cut in halves or quarters…storing the extra wrapped in plastic wrap. Asian pears generally do not turn brown when they are cut, like apples and peaches do.

Some Asian pears (Olympic in particular) develop internal discoloration of the flesh. This is caused by excess sugar in the fruit flooding out into the intercellular spaces. Although it may not look pretty, it is just fine (and very sweet!) to eat.

I’d tell you to mail order your pears from North Star Farm, but they don’t do mail order. Thank God! Or else they wouldn’t have any product left to bring to my market. I hesitate to say this, but they do grow the best apple on the planet. I won’t mention it’s name, though. I want to make sure I can get my bushel this fall. It is such a problem, wanting to brag about things, but not wanting to ruin them by having too many people know about them. What to do? What to do?

wildpotato's avatar

@daloon Wow, thanks for the extremely thoughtful answer! This is very helpful. Can I find North Star Farm’s stuff at the Union Square market?

wundayatta's avatar

@wildpotato I don’t think so, but I’m hoping there is another vendor who might bring some good fruit there. I hear they have one of the best farmer’s markets anywhere. Check it out at the beginning of September. Or come to Philly.

wildpotato's avatar

@daloon Where in Philly? I go there a lot, and will actually be coming down in two weeks :)

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