Apple pear is another name for Asian pear. Asian pears are also commonly called Japanese pears, Chinese pears, Korean pears, sand pears or nashi pears. There are many different varieties of apple pears. However, those varieties are grouped into three general families of apple pears. They differ in skin type, size and firmness.
Shape and Texture
Apple pears are often mistakenly thought to be a cross between a pear and an apple. However, the name "apple pear" refers to the rounded shape of the pear and the texture of the flesh. The flesh of an apple pear is crisp, and very ripe fruit is very juicy.
Two of the three general families of Asian pears are sometimes referred to as apple pears. The first family is a round or flatish-round fruit with green to yellow skin. Skin of this first class is often thinner and more tender. The second type is a round or flat fruit with skin color that can range from bronze to russet. The skins of these apple pears are thicker and often have a sweet-sandy texture. The third family of Asian pear is shaped more like a European pear, but is still quite rounded. The skins of these pears can range from greenish-yellow to brownish-russet, depending on the cultivar.
Apple pears store very well. Most varieties will store four to seven days at room temperature. However, if you refrigerate your apple pears, they can store for months. Varieties with thicker skins often store better than the light greenish-yellow thinner-skinned varieties.
Harvest and Ripening
Another area in which apple pears are similar to apples is that apple pears are best if allowed to ripen on the tree. Many European pears are picked still unripe and allowed to ripen off the tree.
Thinning and Fruit Size
Apple pears' productivity per acre is often lower than for European pears. In order to grow the large apple pears that are popular among consumers, apple pears must be thinned to allow growth and nutrients to increase the size and sweetness of the remaining pears. Some orchards in Asia use a special technique of placing an auspicious character in plastic or paper on the fruit as it grows, thus depriving that part of the skin of sun and causing the character to appear as a light area of the skin. These pears are often bagged on the tree with a clear plastic bag to protect them from insects and pests. High-quality apple pears are often individually wrapped in a foam mesh to reduce the risk of bruising.