“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.” ― J.R.R. Tolkien

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Name This Food! : A Pair Of Pears

Hey there! I'm still alive!

A while back on Name this Food! I asked you what these were...

These are Shinseiki  variety Asian Pears. But what is an Asian Pear?

Good question, because sometimes they look like pears and yet other varieties look like apples.

Asian pears, fruits of Pyrus pyrifolia on the left and right, and two fruits of Pyrus × bretschneideri in the centre
The round ones are Pyrus pyrifolia, known as Chinese pear or Nashi pear, usually round, with brown or yellow skin, and the more pear-shaped ones are Pyrus × bretschneideri, also called Ya pear or Chinese white pear and have yellow skin.

Due to their relatively high price and the large size of the fruit of cultivars, the pears tend to be served to guests, given as gifts, or eaten together in a family setting.

In cooking, ground pears are used in vinegar- or soy sauce-based sauces as a sweetener, instead of sugar. They are also used when marinating meat, especially beef.

In Korea, the fruit is known as bae and it is grown and consumed in great quantity. In the South Korean city of Naju, there is a museum called The Naju Pear Museum and Pear Orchard for Tourists.

In Australia, these pears were first introduced into commercial production beginning in 1980.

In China, the term "Sharing a pear" (分梨) is a homophone of "separate" (分离), as a result, sharing a pear with a loved one can be read as a desire to separate from them.

In Cyprus, the pears were introduced in 2010 after initially being investigated as a new fruit crop for the island in the early 1990s. They are currently grown in Kyperounta.

The fruits are not generally baked in pies or made into jams because they have a high water content and a crisp, grainy texture, very different from the European varieties. They are commonly served raw and peeled. The fruit tends to be quite large and fragrant, and when carefully wrapped (it has a tendency to bruise because of its juiciness), it can last for several weeks or more in a cold, dry place.


So how's about a recipe?

Since it's winter, and we all seem in the Northern Hemisphere to be suffering with the cold weather, snow, sleet, freezing rain, yuck, yuck, yuck, and all of the associated coughs, sneezes, wheezes and diseases that occur at this time of year, hows about a delicious recipe that is reputed to remedy such ailments. In China, Korea and Taiwan, this recipe is what you make for someone with a sore throat, and as Asian Pears are high in Vitamin C (as well as fibre, potassium, Vitamin  K and copper), it would be churlish not to try it. Here we go...

Chinese Steamed Pears with Dates and Honey
Rhonda Parkinson (www.thespruce.com)


2 Asian pears
4 teaspoons honey
2 dried Chinese dates (softened in cold water, slitted, and the pits removed)

Optional: lemon juice (to brush on the pears to prevent discoloration)


1. Wash the pears and pat dry with paper towels. Cut the top off the pears and set aside (these will become the lid). Remove the core. If desired, cut off a small slice at the bottom so that the pear will stand straight during steaming. (Note: Depending on the type of steaming equipment you are using, you may find it difficult to stand the pears upright and cover for steaming. In that case, slice the pears lengthwise, core, and spoon the honey and place the date in the hollow in the middle.)

2. Spoon 2 teaspoons honey into each pear. Add 1 Chinese date. Place the top back on the pear. Brush the lemon juice over the skin of the pear if using.

3. Set up a steamer, or place a rack for steaming inside a deep pot. Place the pears on a plate and steam, covered, for 30 minutes, or until the pears are tender. Serve warm.

Now then - Name This Food!

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