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Shandong pears are known for their juicy and crisp texture, low acid, and fragrant aroma. They have a russeted green skin and a bulbous bottom that tapers to a narrow neck. Though its appearance may look more similar to a European variety, the Shandong pear is a true Asian variety. Unlike its European cousin, they are sold ripe and maintain their crisp texture long after being picked. Careful handling must be practiced when picking, packing, and transporting, since their delicate skin bruises and becomes discolored easily.
Shandong Pears are available in the late summer and early fall.
Shandong pears are botanically classified as Pyrus pyrifolia. They are a Chinese variety of Asian pear that gets their name from their place of origin, the Shandong province in China. The Shandong pear is occasionally confused with the Ya pear (Pyrus bretschneideri), but is actually an entirely different species sometimes commonly referred to as an apple pear or sand pear. They are also generically referred to as Asian pears, although this designation can also sometimes be used for the Ya pear.
Asian pears contain essential nutrients such as dietary fiber, necessary for digestive and cardiovascular health. They also contain Vitamins C and K, along with copper and potassium. Asian pears are low in calories, sodium, and fat.
Unlike other pears, Shandong pears do not need a period of ripening off the tree, and can be eaten right away. They make excellent dessert fruits. Asian pears can also be used in place of sugar to sweeten dishes. For example, they can be ground up and mixed with vinegar or soy sauce to flavor savory dishes. Shandong pears are also sometimes paired with beef as a tenderizer.
Since pears have been a part of Eastern Asian cultures for thousands of years, they have come to symbolize various things. In China, pears signify justice, wisdom, and longevity. In Japan, pears were at once time used to protect property from bad luck. In Korea, pear trees symbolize purity, grace, and comfort.
The Shandong pear is native to the Yangtze River Valley, where they still are found growing wild. However, modern growing conditions have solidified this specific pear to production within the Shandong province in the People’s Republic of China. Shandong pears prefer a moderate climate with significant rainfall and high summer temperatures. Pears have actually been grow throughout China for thousands of years, however, commercial production has only increased within the last ten years. In fact, most pears cultivated in China are grown in either the Shandong or Hebei provinces which are located in the northeast of the country.
Recipes that include Shandong Pears. One is easiest, three is harder.
|Recipe Runner||Pear Ginger Smoothie|
|Bren Did||Easy Pear Sauce and Pear Fruit Leather|
|Monika Hibbs||Pear & Cinnamon Muffins|