While traditionally shaped pears you usually see in grocery stores are European pears, Asian pears are round. These pears are ripe when they're harvested, so you eat them when they're firm instead of waiting for them to soften. Select Asian pears, also sometimes called apple pears, that are fragrant and without bruises. Asian pears keep well: You can store them for about a week at room temperature or for several months in the refrigerator. Knowing how to cook with Asian pears means understanding their texture--the fruit is juicier than an apple but crisper than traditional pears.
Things You'll Need
- Asian pears
- Cutting board
- Baby greens or romaine lettuce
- Jicama, grapefruit or celery
- Goat cheese, optional
- Salad dressing
- Cinnamon stick
- Star anise, optional
- Cloves, optional
Showcase Your Pears in a Salad
Serve your Asian pears as part of a salad. Many connoisseurs prefer Asian pears raw because of the crisp, juicy texture. Because Asian pears don't oxidize when you cut them, they won't turn brown as apples do when you expose them to the air. Since you don't have to coat the pears in lemon juice or another acid as soon as you cut them, you have more flexibility for using them in a salad.
Core the pear as you would an apple, cutting it open and then trimming away the center section.
Slice your pear into thin, long strips or dice it into bite-sized pieces.
Trim and slice jicama, grapefruit, celery or another fruit or vegetable that you enjoy in salads. Toss with the pears and either baby greens or romaine lettuce. Add crumbled goat cheese for additional texture and tangy flavor.
Top your salad with a tart, slightly sweet dressing, such as a balsamic vinaigrette.
Poach Your Pears
Core four Asian pears as you would an apple, cutting them open and then trimming away the center sections. Cut the pears into quarters.
Place one-half cup of sugar and one cup of water in a pan and bring to a boil. Add one teaspoon of vanilla and a cinnamon stick. If you have them on hand, add two or three whole star anise and three or four whole cloves for additional depth of flavor. (If you don't have whole items, you can use one teaspoon of cinnamon and one-eighth of a teaspoon of cloves.)
Reduce the mixture to a simmer and add the pears. Simmer until the pears are tender, about 15 minutes.
Remove the cinnamon stick, star anise and cloves.
Serve warm or chilled, alone or as a topping or vanilla ice cream.
Tips & Warnings
- Bake your pears in a tart or crisp. Slice your Asian pears into thin pieces, such as one-eighth of an inch thick, since they retain more texture than other fruits during the baking process. Use your favorite recipe and swap out half of the fruit you would normally use, such as apples or peaches, for sliced or diced Asian pears. To microwave Asian pears, cut them into cubes and add one-fourth of a cup of water and two tablespoons of sugar. Add small amounts (one-eighth of a teaspoon or less) of cinnamon, cloves or nutmeg for additional flavor. Combine the ingredients and microwave for six to eight minutes. Stir and microwave again for five minutes, repeating the process until the pears are tender. Puree the pears into a sauce or serve in small pieces. To saute pears, cut the fruit into eight pieces. Heat one tablespoon of butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the pears and cook them for one minute on each side. Sprinkle them with sugar and continue to turn until the pear is tender, approximately five minutes.
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