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Karmozijn pears are large in size, averaging 10-12 centimeters in length, and 6-8 centimeters in width, at their roundest part, the middle of the fruit. They are round in shape, with a classic bell shaped middle, which tapers up to a short neck, and down to a smaller base. Karmozijn pears have a short, sturdy brown stem, and smooth skin, which ranges from bright green to pale yellow, covered in red blushing at different stages of ripening. The flesh is dense and crisp, with a beautiful tie-dye effect of cream colored, and bright magenta, creating starburst patterns of the two colors. Inside there are a few black-brown, tear drop shaped seeds, in the central core. When ripe, Karmozijn pears are crisp and slightly acidic.
Karmozijn pears are available in the winter months.
Karmozijn pears are grown in The Netherlands. The word Karmozijn in dutch is translated to crimson in English, arguably for the striking magenta color of the flesh inside the Karmozijn pears.
Karmozijn pears contain vitamin c, fiber, potassium, and calcium. The red colored flesh is said to be caused by a high level of anthocyanin, making these pears higher in antioxidants than non red-fleshed pears.
Karmozijn pears are best suited for cooked applications, such as baking, poaching, stewing, or making into jam. They can also be eaten raw, fresh out of hand, or sliced into salads or on top of canapes, desserts, or cheese platters. Karmozijn pears are slightly acidic and are not very sweet when raw, so they are best paired with sweet ingredients, such as poached in wine with cinnamon and citrus, or cooked into a jam with added sugar or honey. Because of their acidity, Karmozijn pears are complimented by game meats, walnuts, almonds, ginger, cinnamon, onion, smoked fish, blue cheese, and salty meats such as bacon or ham. Karmozijn pears can be stored for up to 7 days in the refrigerator.
It is believed that a man by the name of ir. Piet de Sonnaville originally bred the Karmozijn pear in the 1950’s in the Netherlands. Piet de Sonnaville passed away in 1995, but his son, Ben, who lives in Altforst, in the Netherlands, continues to breed and grow fruit.
Origins of Karmozijn pears are still up for debate. Some sources say the Karmozijn pears are a cross between the conference pear, the blood pear, and the lobster pear. Other sources say the Karmozijn pear is a cross between pear and apple varieties, most notably, the carmine de sonnaville apple, grown in the land of Maas and Waal. It is said that the carmine de sonnaville apple had a short period of success. It appeared to have shrinkage cracks around the stem, and made for an unsightly apple. It is believed that the growers crossed the crimson de sonnaville apple with a conference pear variety to create the Karmozijn pear, which has a smooth and striking appearance, both inside and out.