You are going to hear lots of conflicting stories about Asian Pears over the next few decades. They are tart, they are sweet; they are very good to cook with, they are not good to cook with; the trees are self-pollinating, they are not self-pollinating. And, all these stories are true. There are twenty very different ones listed on this site alone. That being said, there are general characteristics that Asian Pears mostly share, and general ways in which they can be grouped. The pears that originated in Japan tend to have yellow, brown or yellowish-brown skin; those that originated from China tend to have greenish-yellow skin. Aside from the few that look like pears should, Asian Pears generally are shaped like apples and have the same crisp crunch as apples when you bite into them.
Pear Picking Tips
Asian Pears Info & Facts | The Fruit Company®
Whether buying Asian pears in a supermarket or harvesting them from your own trees, there are a few indicators that you should pay attention to in order to tell if they are ripe. Asian pears also have other names, including Japanese pear, African pear, Nashi pear, Nashi apple, Korean pear, Taiwan pear, bae li, bapple, sand pear, pear apple and papple. They take the apple parts of these names from their round shape rather the usual pear shape. Know your pear variety. Check references to determine what part of the season they will be ripe in. Different varieties have slightly different maturation times, but have a wide range from mid-July to October, depending on the local climate.
When should you harvest Asian pears?
In order to produce good local pears, producers depend on ideal spring and early summer weather conditions, and no late frosts. Now, here's the surprise: pears are picked unripe and left to ripe in a cool, dry, dark place like a basement or garage. If you wait for them to ripen on the tree, you probably won't harvest many - they'll rot and be attacked by bugs and birds. See this page for descriptions of pear varieties. The fruit can be ripened on the tree, but for better quality, they are best picked early and allowed to ripen indoors.