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Fragrant pears are small in size and are round to oval in shape with long, straight, green-brown stems. The smooth, waxy, and thin skin has a matte, yellow-green base and is covered in red blushing and prominent lenticels or pores. The flesh is crisp, moist, firm, and ivory to cream-colored encasing a few black-brown seeds in a central core. Fragrant pears live up to their name with a strong, floral aroma and when ripe, they are crunchy, juicy, and sweet.
Fragrant pears are available in the fall through spring.
Fragrant pears are a complex hybrid variety that has been cultivated for more than 1,300 years in a small province along the silk road in China. The botanical identity of this small pear was largely unknown until 2001 when scientists determined that it is, in fact, a hybrid of two European species, Pyrus communis, an Asian species, Pyrus pyrifolia, and a little-known Chinese local species, Pyrus armeniacifolia. Also known as Korla Fragrant pears in reference to the city in the Xinjiang region where they are grown, Fragrant pears have increased in popularity since their worldwide release in 2006 and are favored for their bite-size, crunchy, and juicy texture.
Fragrant pears contain some vitamin C and fiber.
Fragrant pears are best suited for raw applications as their small size, and crunchy texture is showcased when consumed fresh, out-of-hand. They can be sliced and mixed into green salads, fruit salads, and pasta salads, packed as a snack in children’s lunchboxes, sliced over desserts such as ice cream, sorbets, and pudding, or layered in sandwiches, paninis, and grilled cheese. They can also be incorporated into small baked goods such as tartlets, cakes, pies, and bread, or poached in red wine and cinnamon for a sweet dessert. Fragrant pears compliment leafy greens such as arugula, kale, chard, radicchio, and spinach, strawberries, grapes, cheeses such as feta, goat, gorgonzola, blue, and parmesan, meats such as chicken, pork, beef, and lamb, and spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. They will keep up to a month when stored in the refrigerator and a couple of weeks when stored at room temperature.
Fragrant pears are grown in the city of Korla, which is the largest city in Western China, and are one of the most expensive pears that China exports because of their rigorous cultivation process. The pear trees are cleaned with air guns to remove insects and dirt and are often examined with a magnifying glass for overall health and wellness. Once ready for harvest, the pears are wrapped in tissue paper and foam mesh to prevent bruising and imperfections. It then takes approximately a week by truck for the produce to arrive at port in Hong Kong from Xinjiang and the pears are then exported to countries such as the United States.
Fragrant pears have been cultivated in the Xinjiang province of China for over 1,300 years, but they were only introduced to the rest of the world in 2006. Grown along the silk road in Korla, these pears are considered the finest in the area and are more expensive than most grown in surrounding China, Japan, or Korea. Today Fragrant pears are still grown in Asia and are available at select Asian specialty stores and farmers markets in Europe and the United States.
Recipes that include Fragrant Pears. One is easiest, three is harder.
|Souper Diaries||Pear Soup with Pork Ribs|
|Gimme Some Oven||Caramel Pear Cookies|