11 Sep2006

Japanese Pears

by Marketman

pear1

I found these delicious Japanese/Korean pears at the market the other day for just PHP140 a kilo. Relative to their previously lofty prices, that is a steal. Fruits from temperate countries seem to be peaking just about now, after a long summer of growth and ripening. August and September mean serious stone fruit harvest, grapes, apples and pears. A few years ago, a single large near perfectly shaped Japanese pear might run you USD 4 in the U.S. and oddly, USD10 or more in Japan. The Japanese have an incredible anal retentiveness regarding perfection in fruit, which must result in a lot of rejects. I once heard they had special melons in groceries or department stores for upwards of USD150 a piece!

I am not so sure why the fruit has to be so consistently beautiful when they are a product of nature…I mean what population of humans around the world are all 10’s on a scale of 1 to 10??? Nevertheless, this Japanese pear is far juicier than say Anjous or Bartletts. It has less flavor I think but is sweet and refershing. I like a Japanese pear for a simple dessert after a heavy meal, served cold. Or you can add it to fruit salads or even green salads that need a touch of sweetness and crunch. I am almost certain that the pears that make it to our shores are the equivalent of the beauty challenged in Japan, slightly askew, oddly shaped and with blemishes on their skin…not to worry, it doesn’t seem to affect the taste.

 

COMMENTS:

  1. Sandra says:

    The Japanese/Asia pear beats any kind of pear we have availble in the temperate climate. The crunch is different and the taste is exceptional especially when served cold. Yummy.

    Sep 11, 2006 | 4:52 pm

     
  2. Doddie from Korea says:

    MM,

    The korean pears we have here in Janghowon are as big as the grapefruits that we have in Davao. The pears are covered with a thin brown peel and are unbelievably sweet and juicy. Koreans have incorporated this fruit in some of their noodle dishes that are cold (the broth has ice chips in it. Some of their salads have julienned pears tossed with them (combined with a salty-sauce – the taste is refreshing and suprisingly good).

    Each pear here cost about 150 to 250 pesos each.

    Sep 11, 2006 | 10:14 pm

     
  3. oggi says:

    MM, the melons you mentioned are the Japanese variety of musk melons. My father-in-law used to receive these as gifts from Japanese clients, they’re usually wrapped in purplish paper and contained in a pretty box, yes the Japanese are obsessed with perfect fruit and equally pefect presentation. When I felt like indulging I bought these from the Japanese department stores (Daimaru or Mitsukoshi) when we were living in HongKong, not for US$100 though, that would be insane, they still are very expensive in Japan. These melons are spectacular, juicy, sweet, indescribable..

    Sep 11, 2006 | 10:46 pm

     
  4. Apicio says:

    Keeping down the attendant sloshy noise when eating these pears may detract from the pleasure much like when drawing joy from a baton of sugarcane. Best enjoyed in youth when the senses are sharp and worry about (financially) painful and time-consuming dental work and precarious balance of blood sugar level do not yet loom large in the consciousness.

    Sep 11, 2006 | 11:27 pm

     
  5. alb says:

    These are more known now as Asian pears as they’re produced extensively in China, Korea, and Japan. There are a few different cultivars but the taste is all the same-juicy, crisp, and sweet. It’s more like biting into an apple as compared to European pears. Us Asians can really appreciate texture in food that’s why many of us prefer this pear over European varieties.

    On the lower prices, I think it’s because China has opened up production and export of these pears that prices have come down.

    Sep 12, 2006 | 1:40 am

     
  6. fried-neurons says:

    I like Anjou pears with prosciutto.

    Sep 12, 2006 | 4:31 am

     
  7. linda says:

    In Oz land we call these Nashi pears – lovely to eat with sweet or savoury salads,poached with red wine and spices,or chilled and thinly sliced with cheese in a sandwich.For a Pinoy twist – dip with bagoong.Yum!!

    Sep 12, 2006 | 6:18 am

     
  8. Ria says:

    These are beautiful fruits. I visited a Taiwan farming cooperative two years ago, and they had a contract with a Japanese client to grow these. The client sent them the fruit grafts which they grafted onto local pear trees. All the produce are then exported to the client/buyer.

    The trees were not too high and you could actually reach out and pick the fruits. Each fruit was encased in clear plastic bags on the tree as they grew and ripened. This is probably why the skins are pristine.

    Sep 12, 2006 | 6:03 pm

     
  9. ktjison says:

    It was a good thing I got to taste it in its native land. Slurping food there is not considered offensive. Those were probably the juiciest pears I have tried yet. (Gotta try it with bagoong soon!)

    Sep 12, 2006 | 11:57 pm

     
  10. Marketman says:

    Sandra, you are right, the more I think about it, the more these are turning out to be my favorite pear variety… Doddie, noodles with pears…now that is a combination I have never tried. I do like the cold noodles in Japanese restaurants though so I would probably like the Korean version as well. oggi, they even tried to make square watermelons for easier packaging and shipping…yikes! Apicio, you got it, I bought some sugarcane last year (I photographed it and did a post on it) and afterwards tried to eat it like I did when I was a kid…yipes, nearly needed a trip to the dentist! How did we manage to gnaw at that when we were 10? alb, you are right, these pears probably came from China… fried neurons, I like Anjous as well, specially poached and served with raspberry sauce… linda, with bagoong?! Gotta try that one day soon! Ria, did the plastic bags have holes so the fruit could breathe? ktjison, by native did you mean Japan, Korea or China…slurp away!

    Sep 13, 2006 | 5:48 am

     
  11. Wilson Cariaga says:

    yes yes, i want to poach it in red wine then serve it with vanilla ice cream. . . yum yum

    Sep 13, 2006 | 7:41 pm

     
 

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