When I first started working at the farm back in March, one of the farmers pointed out a few Asian pear trees on the road leading up to the winery. Because I only eat produce from the farm (hey, it’s free and there’s lots of it) and the farm specializes in vegetables, I’ve been feeling a little fruit-deprived. So when the Asian pears went into full fruit a week ago, I was pretty excited.
Although Asian pears taste similar to conventional pears, they have a different texture. Instead of being soft and buttery, Asian pears are crisp and juicy like apples. You can also eat Asian pears right off the tree, while European pears which are picked on the green side and ripened at room temperature.
Like winter squash, Asian pears do well in cold storage, allowing you to enjoy them throughout the fall and winter.
Look for Asian pears at your local farmers market, pick-your-own organic farms, natural food stores, or larger grocery chains. Select fruits that are fragrant, unbruised, and firm. Ripe Asian pears are hard like apples and do not soften.
Because Asian pears are crisper than European pears, they don’t work quite as well in buttery jams and pie fillings. However, the lemony, sweet, floral flavor of Asian pears makes them a superb ingredient for raw salads and comforting desserts.
Here are some recipe ideas:
- Cucumber, Asian Pear, and Watermelon Salad with Ricotta Salata (vegetarian)
- Asian Pear Slaw (vegan)
- Asian Pear and Gouda Grilled Cheese Recipe (vegetarian)
- Asian Pear and Frisée Salad (vegan)
- Creamy Asian Pear and Tempeh Salad with Wasabi Dressing (vegan)
- Pickled Asian Pears (vegan)
- Quick-Poached Asian Pears (vegetarian)
- Chocolate Walnut Wasabi Cupcakes with Asian Pear (vegan)
- Asian Pear Crisp (vegetarian)