Hav­ing the crunch and a shape sim­i­lar to an apple, Asian pears make their debut start­ing in July and stick around until early fall.

The grainy tex­ture and sweet, juicy inte­rior is a wel­comed mar­ket addi­tion as we tran­si­tion out of sum­mer stone fruits.

A rel­a­tive of Euro­pean pear vari­eties like Bartlett and Anjou, Asian pears are native to Japan and China where they have been grown for over 3000 years.

Their first appear­ance in the United States was recorded in 1820 when a Chi­nese sand pear was imported to New York. In the mid-1800’s Asian pears made their way to the west coast via Chi­nese and Japan­ese immi­grants relo­cat­ing to Cal­i­for­nia after the Gold Rush.

Most com­mer­cial pro­duc­tion in the United States is in Cal­i­for­nia and Ore­gon. Wash­ing­ton state fol­lows behind and then Ken­tucky and Alabama.

Asian pears are read­ily found at most farm­ers mar­kets, retail gro­cers and on cafe and restau­rant menu selec­tions. It’s not that they are such a com­mon­place hand fruit. Rather, they’re an unusu­ally good sea­sonal item that should grab our atten­tion once they appear on the pro­duce scene.

Asian pears are ready to eat as soon as they are pur­chased. They are picked when they’re ripe. Unlike most other types of pears, which have a slight yield under gen­tle pres­sure, Asian pears are still firm when ripe.

Han­dle with care. They bruise quite eas­ily. Some grow­ers will pack them in foam sleeves or tis­sue for extra pro­tec­tion. They keep nicely at room tem­per­a­ture for about a week. Under refrig­er­a­tion, they’ll store up to three months.

Asian pears are best suited for raw appli­ca­tions. Their crunchy tex­ture and sweet fla­vor is high­lighted when con­sumed fresh, just out-​of-​hand. They are great used in recipes and will retain a crisp­ness in fresh appli­ca­tions.

Try them sliced and added to green or fruit sal­ads. Grate them for slaws. A driz­zle of honey or bal­samic vine­gar on a few slices makes for a dra­matic dessert plate.

Their sweet fla­vor and juici­ness will add mois­ture and fla­vor to baked goods. Con­sider using Asian pears instead of apples for cakes, pies, crisps, muffins, and quick breads.

Asian pears are known by many names includ­ing Nashi, Japan­ese pear, Sand pear, Chi­nese pear, and Apple pear. What­ever name selected, know they are avail­able now for delec­table eating.

To read the full Mar­ket Report, includ­ing this week’s mar­ket update, see below or click here.