Asian Pears, also called Nashi apple, Chinese, Japanese and Oriental pears, are a less common dessert pear but they are rapidly gaining in popularity. Most of us don’t have a tree for these tasty fruit treats in our backyards, but you can find the fruit currently at local grocery stores. It is typically available from July through late October.
Unlike other pears that yield to pressure when they are ripe, Asian pears are extremely firm even when they are ripe. Good quality Asian pears are selected by smell rather than firmness or lack of it. Like apples, all are ready to eat as they are harvested.
Ripe fruit will have a fairly strong and sweet aroma (they won’t smell as strong if they are cold than those at room temperature. Avoid those that have soft, wrinkled appearance or with numerous scuff marks or bruises.
Japanese varieties have clear yellow, brown or yellow-brown skin. Chinese varieties are clear-skinned and green yellow.
They are a dieter’s delight. They are so sweet, they taste like a dessert, but on average one pear will provide only 61 calories and considerable amounts of vitamins A and C.
Although they can be frozen or bottled and still maintain good quality, you may not have a large enough supply to consider such an option. Eat them like a fresh apple or put them into various dishes to enjoy them.
Asian pear and spinach salad
2 cups Baby spinach
1 diced Asian pear
1/4 cup Walnuts or Pecans
Poppy seed dressing
Mix together or layer the spinach, pears and nuts, then top with dressing.
Makes 1 meal-sized serving or two to three side-dish servings
Asian Pear Waldorf salad
1 1/2 Asian pears, peeled and diced
20 seedless red grapes or more (Cut in half if large)
2 celery stalks, diced
1/4 to 1/2 cup broken walnuts or pecans
Mayonnaise or Miracle Whip to taste
Mix ingredients together and serve.
4 to 6 slices of bread (remove crusts) (Any kind will work, but avoid those with strong flavors like pumpernickel.
1/3 cup milk or cream
3 tablespoons honey
3 cups Asian Pears, peeled and sliced 1/8 inch thick
8 ounces softened regular cream cheese
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup heavy or light cream or half and half
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8×8 pan with nonstick cooking spray
Fit bread in a single layer on the bottom of the pan. Break up if necessary to fit it together.
Pear layer: In a separate bowl, combine 1/3 cup milk and 3 tablespoons of the honey and mix until combined. Add pears and stir.
Cream Cheese topping
Combine regular cream cheese (light is too soft and thin), cream and honey in a food processor and process until it is smooth.
Spread the pear layer mixture over the bread. Spread cream cheese mixture over the top as evenly as possible.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 35 minutes. Broil until the topping turns golden (3 to 7 minutes). Serve immediately.