Friday, September 7, 2012

Asian vs. European Pears, Sierra Foothills Producers Cooperative

Hosui and Bartlett pears
What's the difference between Asian pears and European pears? 

Asian pears are firmer and more like an apple in texture.  They're ripe and meant to be eaten when they're crisp like this.  If you wait for an Asian pear to become soft, then it will be overripe, mushy and bland tasting.  When we pick Asian pears from the trees, they're crisp, juicy and ready to eat right then.  There are many varieties of Asian pears that grow well in our area and ripen from August to November.  Most are roundish with skin ranging from yellow-green to brown.   Okusankichi, the largest variety of Asian pear we grow, is also the latest to ripen in November.

European pears are smoother textured and soft when ripe.  Bartlett, Comice, and D'Anjou are varieties of European pears that we grow at the orchard.  All these varieties of European pears must be picked from the trees when they're hard, green and unripe, then stored until they ripen.  If left to ripen on the trees, European pears are likely to be rotten in the core by the time they become yellow and soft on the outside.   We pick Bartlett, Comice, and D'Anjou when they're green, then ripen them slowly in the fruit stand or refrigerator until they're sweet, yellow and soft. Another way to ripen European pears is pick them green and wrap them in newspaper in a cool dark place (like in a box under the bed). 

Right now in the fruit stand we have many varieties of Asian pear (Hosui, Shinko, Yoi, New Century, 20th Century, Niitaka) and Bartlett and Comice European pear.  We're also selling Asian pear through the Sierra Foothills Producers Cooperative for the month of September.  

Through the Sierra Foothills Producers Cooperative you can order local, naturally grown and raised meats, eggs, cheese, honey, olive oil, produce and products such sauces and marmalades. September orders must be made by Friday, Sept 14th at 4:00 PM.  You can pick up your order in one of five locations including Otow Orchard at scheduled times during the week of Sept. 17th.  The next delivery at our orchard will be from 4:00 - 5:00 PM on Friday, Sept. 21st.

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