In Praise of the Asian Pear

by Maria DiMaggio, Healthy Waltham Project Coordinator (and Waltham Public School parent)

This unassuming-looking piece of fruit has become a staple in my house and a lunchbox favorite.  Golden brown in color, it looks to be half pear, half apple.  We discovered it by accident during a day of apple-picking at Belkin Lookout Farm in Natick.  Turns out these folks also grow a lot of Asian pears.  Instead of apples, we came home with bags and bags of Asian pears.

Besides tasting pretty good (crunchy like an apple but sweet like a pear) there are several other things we like about them:

  • They keep for weeks in the fridge
  • They can be substituted for apples and pears in baked goods with excellent results
  • When peeled and cut, they don’t turn brown for hours

This last one, not turning brown, makes them great for sending in a lunchbox.  My kids prefer apples to be cut up rather than biting into a whole apple.  However, most apples turn brown quickly.  After several hours, cut up apples don’t look that appealing.  But Asian pears will generally keep their color for several hours at room temperature, and for 24 hours in the fridge (cut them up and store in a plastic container).

These fruits can be quite pricey in winter and summer.  But in the fall, locally-grown Asian pears can be found at the grocery store at a decent price.  More information on Asian pears can be found at Fruits & Veggies – More Matters


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