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Shinko pears are large fruits, averaging 7 to 10 centimeters in diameter, and have a round to ovate shape. The skin is semi-thick, chewy, firm, and lightly textured with russet, bearing a golden-bronze hue covered in many small, pale yellow lenticels. Underneath the surface, the ivory to white flesh is dense, granular, and aqueous with a crisp, crunchy consistency. There is also a central, fibrous core encasing small, oval black seeds. Shinko pears have a very sweet, floral-forward flavor with tangy citrus undertones and lingering notes of butterscotch.
Shinko pears are available in the late fall through winter.
Shinko pears, botanically classified as Pyrus pyrifolia, are a late-season Asian pear variety belonging to the Rosaceae family. The sweet, subtly tangy fruits are primarily consumed fresh and are favored for their golden coloring and lightly russeted skin. Shinko pears are grown on a small scale for select grocers and farmers markets in Japan, but the variety has recently declined in production in favor of other more popular Asian pear cultivars. Despite their decline, Shinko pears are still being grown in home gardens of pear enthusiasts and are selected for the variety’s resistance to diseases such as fire blight and black spot. Shinko pears are believed to be one of the most fire blight resistant Japanese pear varieties, and the trees can grow up to five meters in height, producing high yields with extended storage capabilities. Shinko pear trees are also considered ornamental for landscaping with their white blossoms, golden fruits, and dark green leaves.
Shinko pears are an excellent source of fiber to regulate the digestive tract and are a good source of vitamin C to strengthen the immune system, reduce inflammation, and boost collagen production within the skin. The fruits also contain vitamin K to assist in better wound healing and provide some potassium, manganese, copper, phosphorus, and calcium.
Shinko pears are best suited for fresh applications as the crisp, juicy flesh is showcased when consumed straight, out-of-hand. The fruits can be eaten like an apple with the skin on, discarding the core, or they can be sliced and mixed into fruit salads, cut and displayed on fruit platters, chopped into green salads, or blended into smoothies. Shinko pears can also be shredded and tossed into slaws, used as a topping over ice cream, or juiced for fruit punch, cocktails, and flavored beverages. In addition to raw applications, Shinko pears can be grilled, roasted, or braised with meats for a sweet and savory combination. They can also be incorporated into many desserts, including pies, crisps, cobblers, muffins, cakes, and fritters. Shinko pears complement ingredients such as ginger, lemongrass, chile peppers, green beans, bell peppers, coconut, maple syrup, brown sugar, and vanilla. Whole, unwashed Shinko pears will keep 1 to 3 months when stored in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator.
The district of Haruna in Takasaki City is the largest fruit-growing region within the Gunma Prefecture of Japan. Over 140 farms grow stone fruits, berries, and varieties of Asian pears, including Shinko, and along the major 406 National Highway running through the district, the farms have established a line of fruit stalls known as the Haruna Fruit Road. Visitors travel from all over Japan to Haruna to visit the fruit road, sampling freshly harvested fruits, and some nearby farms offer u-pick fruit farm visits. In the fall, Haruna hosts the Haruna Pear Festival to honor the region’s significant pear history. During the festival, many Asian pear varieties are displayed with free samples, and visitors can purchase the fruits as souvenirs. There is also a pear peeling competition to determine who can peel the fruits the fastest, and the winner receives free pears as a prize.
Asian pears are believed by experts to have been present in Japan as early as the 1st century and were first documented in the 8th century through ancient texts. The fruits were grown in home gardens and small farms and were selectively bred over time to improve the fruit’s resistance to disease. Extensive cultivation of Asian pears began in the late 19th century when nijisseiki and chojuro varieties were discovered as chance seedlings. The cultivars inspired researchers to breed new varieties in the early 20th century, and almost all of the modern Asian pear varieties in existence are descendants of the nijisseiki. Shinko pears were bred through research stations in Niigata and Okayama in 1941 and are a cross between amanogawa and nijisseiki pears. Today Shinko pears are commercially cultivated on a small scale and are primarily found through farmer’s markets and specialty grocers in Asia, Europe, Australia, and the United States.
Restaurants currently purchasing this product as an ingredient for their menu.
|Little Lion||San Diego CA||619-519-4079|
|Born & Raised||San Diego CA||619-944-1631|
|Del Mar Country Club||Rancho Santa Fe CA||858-759-5500 x207|
|Kingfisher||San Diego CA||619-861-8074|
|Sovereign Thai Cuisine||San Diego CA||619-887-2000|
|Mabel's Gone Fishing||San Diego CA||619-228-9851|
|Donna Jean||San Diego CA||619-299-5500|
|Izakaya Maize/Rabih Sus||La Mesa CA||619-395-6383|
|Inn at Rancho Santa Fe||Rancho Santa Fe CA||858-381-8289|
|The Guild Kitchen||San Diego CA||619-573-0289|
|Top of the Market||San Diego CA||619-234-4867|
|Fishery||San Diego CA||858-272-9985|
|InterContinental Vistal Kitchen||San Diego CA||619-501-9400|
|Lodge at Torrey Pines Main||San Diego CA||858-453-4420|
Recipes that include Shinko Pears. One is easiest, three is harder.
|Westport Farmers Market||Braised Asian Pears with Star Anise and Cinnamon|
|Champlain Orchards||Asian Pear Cobbler|
|Food 52||Savory Asian Pear, Onion and Fennel Galette|
|Food dot com||Tea Poached Asian Pears|
|Martha Stewart||Asian Pear Sorbet|