The Asian pear (also known as Nashi) is often mistaken for an apple but it’s much larger. While many think this juicy crop must be a hybrid, it’s actually one of nature’s own creations and features a russet-tan color and coarse, speckled skin.
The pear is a symbol of good fortune. In Japan, Nashi trees are planted near the corners of the property for protection. In Chinese medicine, pears are believed to hold medicinal value and are often used to cure sore throats.
While most pears ripen after they’re picked, Asian pears shouldn’t be picked until they’re ready to eat. Asian pears are available year round at the market, but they’re at their best from early fall through winter. Ideally, they last for one week at room temperature and up to two months when refrigerated. Pack them carefully when bringing them home as they bruise easily.
Nashi hold a crisp texture and are perfect for raw applications. For example, use them in a winter salad complete with blue cheese, dark greens, and balsamic. The sweet fruit can also be muddled into warm toddies. For a unique spin on a classic sandwich, layer Asian Pears into your next grilled cheese. If you own a cast iron pan try sautéed pear wedges with crispy bacon and mustard seed vinaigrette. Lastly, diced Asian pears add a crisp bite to thanksgiving stuffing.
How are you using the Asian pear this holiday season? Tag your photos with #nashi and #azchefmallory for a special holiday gift.