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Monday, August 3, 2015

Asian Pair

Asian Pear:

About:

Asian Pear (Pyrus Pyrifolia) is a pear tree species native to China, Taiwan, Japan , and Korea.  The tree's edible fruit is known by many names including Asian Pear, Chinese Pear, Korean Pear, Japanese Pear, Japanese Apple Pear, Taiwan Pear and sand pear.  Varieties of Pyrus pyrifolia are grown throughout East Asia, and in other countries such as Australia, New Zealand, and the U.S.
There are thousands of different known varieties of Asian pear, each varying slightly in shape and color from golden yellow to russeted green, and are often speckled with small brown spots.  Asian pears can also vary in size  the most commonly grown in the U.S. are Japanese varieties which have a round, squat shape similar to an apple.  Asian pears are sold ripe and maintain their crisp texture long after being picked.  

History:

Asian pears have been grown in Japan and China for over 3000 years.  The first documented appearance of the Asian pear in the U.S. was in 1820 in Flushing, New York.

Uses:

The fruit of the Asian Pear is not generally baked in pies or made into jams, because they are high in water content and have a crispy, grainy texture very different from the European varieties.   They are commonly served raw and peeled.  The fruit tends to be quite large and fragrant.   It also has a tendency to bruise easily because of its juiciness, but when carefully wrapped, it can last up to several weeks or more in a cold dry place.  
Due to their high price and large size, Asian pears tend to be served to guests, given as gifts, or eaten together in a family setting.  In cooking ground pears are used in vinegar or soy sauce based sauces as a sweetener instead of sugar.  They are also used when marinating meat, especially beef.   The firm crisp texture of Asian pears make them a pop0ular addition to salads.  Add sliced or cubed pears to green and fruit salads or grate and add to Cole slaw.  Their sweet flavor and juiciness will add moisture and flavor to cakes, pies, muffins, and quick bread.  Saute' slices with cinnamon to serve on top of pork chops.

Health Benefits:

Asian pears are high in fiber, low in calories, and contain a number of micronutrients that are important for blood, bone, and cardiovascular health,  Potassium in Asian pears can help control blood pressure.  The vitamin K is important for bone health and vital to your blood's ability to clot.  Asian pears also contain copper which is essential to the production of energy, red blood cells, and collagen.  Vitamin C is also found in Asian pears in high concentration.  This vitamin is important for the growth and repair of bodily tissue, healing wounds, and repairing and maintaining bones and teeth.  Vitamin C is an antioxidant and so helps remove free radicals from the body to help protect from cancer. 

Selecting and Storing:

Select the most fragrant and unbruised fruit with little to no brown spots.  Ripe Asian pears are hard and do not soften like traditional pears.  Store Asian pears up to one week at room temperature, or up to 3 months in the refrigerator. 

So..... Eat up!  Enjoy!  I'll show you how.

Simple but Good:


Crunch Asian Pear and Cabbage Salad

1 small head of cabbage, cored and thinly sliced (About 6 cups)
1 lg. Asian pear, cut into bite size pieces
1 clove garlic, crushed
3 - 4 scallions, thinly sliced
Handful parsley, roughly chopped
2 TBS fresh lemon juice
1 TBS white wine vinegar
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1 TBS slivered almonds 
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine cabbage, pear, garlic, scallion, and parsley in a large bowl.  Add lemon juice vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper and toss.  Sprinkle with almonds.

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