O, hio, to you – which is a Japanese greeting for hello! It is an honour to have you here as our guest. You may not know too much about us yet, although we have been around for a very long time. Let me introduce myself to you. My name is nashi and I am an oriental pear, although I do grow here in Australia.
Also known as the Asian pear, we're pome fruit (which means we don't have a woody layer surrounding our seeds like apricots and peaches) and we're related to European pears, apples and quinces. We're more or less round in shape, slightly smaller than a tennis ball, with greenish-yellow skin which can be speckled with brown flecks. Our skin feels slightly rough like a pear, rather than smooth like an apple. Our flesh is creamy-white, sweet, crisp and very juicy and surrounds a small core which contains our small seeds.
We're available all year round with our best value being from May to August.
We're usually sold by variety in Australia.
Nejisseiki or Twentieth Century – We're a roundish nashi with a slightly mottled, yellowish-green skin and very crisp, juicy flesh with a mild flavour.
Kosui – We have golden-bronze skin with some mottling and tender, crisp, sweet and slightly bland flesh.
Hosui – -We have golden to light brown skin with strong russetting. Our flesh is white to creamy-white with good flavour and sweetness.
Ya Li – We are a pear-shaped nashi with greenish yellow skin. Our white juicy flesh is sweet with a slight tartness.
We're a new crop in Australia and farmers are currently experimenting with different soil types and climates to find the right ones to ensure a top quality crop.
Our parent tree is deciduous, about 3-5 metres by 2-3 metres, and is quite attractive with dark green, shiny leaves during the warmer months, followed by deep purple autumn colours.
In spring the tree is covered in masses of large white flowers which, after fertilisation, produce fruit – usually much more fruit than the tree can handle. It is therefore essential to thin out the crop to ensure that those fruit remaining grow into a bigger and juicer fruit.
We're very delicate and can easily be bruised and damaged so we must be harvested by hand and carefully placed in special boxes to ensure that we arrive into the shops in prime condition.
Select those of us with smooth, round shapes, similar to an apple in size. Colour should be characteristic of variety.
We're harvested ripe so store us in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
We originated in China and Japan and, only recently grown on a large scale in Australia. The Chinese brought us with them in the mid 1800's when they came to seek their fortunes on the gold fields in Victoria and New South Wales.
We were first planted commercially in Australia in 1983 with a harvest of 20 tonnes and in 1992 this was increased to 4500 tonnes.
On our arrival into the shops we were, at first, thought of as a weird apple-shaped fruit. However, over the last eight years we have rapidly increased in the popularity stakes.
We're similar to the apple in shape and the pear in taste but have a crisper texture and white, very juicy flesh. We can be eaten raw or cooked, with or without the greenish brown skin but always remove our core and seeds. We're great for school lunches and picnics, fruit salads and over cereal, in pies, salads, curries or with meat or fish.
We can replace apples in many recipes and we keep our shape during cooking. We may be poached, baked, grilled, barbecued or sauteed.
Here are a few nashi ideas to try:
Nashi And Cheese Snacks
Slice nashi and top with a slice of your favourite cheese. Quick but yummy. For something hot spread mango chutney on two slices of toast. Add sliced nashi, top with a slice of ham and cheese and grill until browned.
Puree 2-3 nashi, spread in prepared pastry case. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger or cinnamon. Slice 3 nashi and arrange on top. Brush with 3 tablespoons warm apricot jam. Bake 20-25 minutes until nashi is tender. Serve with custard.
Nashi With Cashew Dip
Mix 100g cottage cheese, 3 tablespoons yoghurt, 1 clove minced garlic and 50g roasted cashews, chopped. Garnish with chopped coriander and serve as a dip with sliced nashi.