Heavenly apple…or is it a pear?

People that teach about healthful eating (me included) are always encouraging people to eat more fruit.  I admit that after a while there’s not much excitement in eating another banana or apple—although I like them both.  Asian pear 2

Sometimes I just need a change, so last week I treated myself to a package of Apple Pears.   That first bite had me thinking “wow this tastes wonderful, is it really something I’m encouraged to eat?”

When I say treated myself, I mean it was a splurge, they are not cheap.  A package of five was $6—making them over one dollar a fruit.  I have to tell you, they were worth every penny.

If you haven’t tried them I encourage you to do so.  They are sometimes called Asian Pears or Oriental Pears.  They are round like an apple and have skin like a pear.  Flavor-wise they are a mix of apple and pear— sweet and fragrant.  They are juicer than an apple and crisper than a pear.  Delightful.  Despite these mutual similarities, many people think they are a hybrid of these two fruits, but they are not.  Technically  they are classified as pears.

While they are native to China and Japan, they are also grown in the Pacific Northwest of the US.  Mine were from California.  Asian pear 5

The skin can be golden brown, golden green, orange or brown—depends on the variety.  Select Apple Pears as you would pick apples, they should be firm to the touch, not as soft as a pear.  Take special care as they do bruise easily. Look for pear apples that do not have bruises or marks.

They will keep for several months in a cool environment and can be held at room temperature for a week or so.  Nutritionally, one medium fruit has only 50 calories and it is completely fat-free with 13 grams of carbs and Vitamin C.

They have a beautiful white crisp flesh that doesn’t turn brown as quickly as an apple or pear when exposed to air….so they look great when featured in a salad or fruit bowl. They could be used in recipes designed for pear or apple, but my feelings are:  they as so good just eating out-of-hand why bother? Asian pear 4

Most people say that they should be peeled before eating.  I didn’t.

Looking for an activity to do with kids to teach them about eating more fruit?  How about comparing the apple, pear and Apple Pear?  Give them the chance to look at the similarities and differences in shape, color, texture and flavor. I’d be interested to hear the words they use to describe this fruit.   I’m using the words: delectable, delightful and heavenly.

Cheryle Jones Syracuse, MS
Professor Emeritus, The Ohio State University