The Facts You Need About the Korean Pear

How they grow, taste and more

Asian Pears
Naomi Imatome

With this overview, get the facts you need about the Korean pear. In particular, find out how this fruit with many names, tastes, grows and more. Before you dig into the multitude of facts about the Korean pear, you first need to familiar yourself with the different names that describe it.

Koreans, for example, call the fruit they know as “bae” a Korean pear in English. This fruit is also sometimes called Nashi apple, apple pear, Asian pear, Japanese pear, Chinese pear, sand pear and bapple, arguably the cutest name for the fruit.

 In many neighborhood grocery stores, Korean pears are usually labeled as 'apple pears.' But the fruit is not, as some of these names might suggest, a hybrid between an apple and a pear. It's a good descriptive name, though, as their round shape, crunchiness, and texture does resemble ​that of an apple.

The Taste of Bae

Like apples, Asian pears taste best when they ripen on the tree and are ready to eat as soon as they are harvested. Yum! That means no waiting for this fruit to be ready for consumption, which is the case for so many others. In fact, they do not soften and get sweeter as Western pears do, so you do not have to delay eating them at all.

Asian pears are hard, crisp, sweet, slightly tart at the core and very juicy. Because of their high water content, which makes them low calorie, they are not generally cooked into pies or preserved into jams or jellies. In the Korean home, they are peeled and enjoyed raw as a dessert or a snack, are eaten raw in salads and used as a sweetener in the cooking and marinating process.

The Gift of Pears

Growing Asian pears can be labor intensive and the fruit is bruised easily from rough handling, packing, or picking, so they need to be packed with individual padding or in soft trays like eggs. Because of this, these pears can be quite expensive and, among Koreans and other East Asians, are given as gifts or served to guests.

Many people are excited to receive this delicious and healthful treat. The United States could stand to follow suit and give fruits as presents rather than sugar-laden candies and chocolates. It would certainly help Americans stay as trim as Koreans tend to be.

Buying and Storing Asian Pears

Asian pears range in color from green to yellow to brown. When you are buying them, try to find fragrant and firm fruit with little or no bruises on the skin. Simply put, pick the fruit that looks the most appealing to you. If it is mushy and brown, you likely wouldn't choose those pears to bring home anyway. Once you do select your fruit, however, know that the pears keep well and can last for a couple of weeks in a cool, dry place or for a few months in the refrigerator.