Vernyi Pear Apples
Inventory, lb : 0
Vernyi Pear apples are small, slightly flattened fruits, averaging 5 to 7 centimeters in diameter and 4 to 6 centimeters in length, and have a round to conical shape, connected to thin and fibrous, dark brown stems. The skin is thick, smooth, and yellow-green, sometimes covered entirely in a dark red blush, and there are prominent spots, known as lenticels, scattered across the surface. Underneath the skin, the flesh is crisp, aqueous, dense, and white with a pink hue, encasing a large core filled with oval, brown-black seeds. Vernyi Pear apples are aromatic with a balanced, sweet, and sour flavor.
Vernyi Pear apples are harvested in the fall and can be stored until the early spring.
Vernyi Pear apples, botanically classified as Malus domestica, are a rare variety that belongs to the Rosaceae family. Found only growing in its native region of southern Kazakhstan, Vernyi Pear apples were discovered through natural selection and have been cultivated since ancient times. The apples are also known as Vernenskaya Grushovka and Grushovka Alma-Ata, which roughly translates to Vernyi Pear apple and Alma-Ata Pear apple, which are both old names for the city of Almaty. Vernyi Pear apple trees are favored for their high yields of fruit that have extended storage capabilities, a sweet, tangy taste, and a crunchy consistency. Despite the apple’s valued flavor and rarity, the variety is disappearing from local markets due to an influx of competition from inexpensive, foreign cultivars.
Vernyi pear apples are an excellent source of fiber, which can help regulate the digestive system and are a good source of vitamin C, which is an antioxidant that can boost the immune system and the body’s resistance to free radicals. The apples also contain B-complex vitamins, vitamin K, calcium, iron, potassium, and phosphorus.
Vernyi Pear apples are best suited for raw applications as their crisp, dense, and juicy nature is showcased when consumed fresh, out-of-hand. The apples can also be sliced and displayed on cheese plates, sliced and served with spreads, chopped and tossed into green salads, or sprinkled with cinnamon and eaten as a crisp dessert. In addition to fresh applications, Vernyi Pear apples can be made into sauces, jams, or jellies, baked into cakes, muffins, pies, or tarts, or cooked with roasted meats. The apples can also be dried or pickled for extended use. Vernyi Pear apples pair well with meats such as beef, pork, lamb, and poultry, carrots, cucumbers, leafy greens, nuts, raisins, other dried fruits, and honey. The fresh apples will keep 2-3 months when stored whole and unwashed in a cool, dry, and dark place such as the refrigerator.
In Almaty, the vendors that grew the Vernyi Pear apples featured in the photograph above were of Russian and Turkish descent and are cultivating varieties of apples for local sale and export. The vendors own dachas, which are private plots of land in the countryside that are traditionally inherited, given, or purchased, and these plots can be used for homes or gardens. The vendor’s orchards regularly produce an abundant harvest of apple varieties, and many of these apples are exported to Russia for sale as souvenirs. Despite their plentiful harvests, many of the apples sold by the vendors in Almaty must be marketed inexpensively, even if they are cultivated organically, to compete with larger competitors flooding the market with low-priced varieties. One of the Vernyi Pear apple vendors has been a part of growing local apples found in Almaty since he was seven years old but has seen the Vernyi Pear apple recently disappearing from the market due to the competition from larger vendors.
Vernyi Pear apples were discovered growing naturally in Kazakhstan and have been cultivated since ancient times. Today the rare apples are mainly grown on a small-scale in orchards in southeastern Kazakhstan, specifically in the Almaty, Kyzyl-Orda, and Zhambyl provinces. The Vernyi Pear apples in the photograph above were found at a weekend food fair in the Baganashyl district of Almaty, Kazakhstan.