These fruits have waxy skins and stems that are too long for their own good. They look like the offspring of apples, guavas and pears. I would have ignored them at the market if it weren’t for my grandmother, a Chinese version of Martha Stewart. She makes her own chili paste and drinks goji berry-logan elixir every day. She introduced me to “hollow” greens (because the stems resemble straws), jujube dates and now, fragrant pears.
It sounds like a vague description, but that’s their proper name. Farmers have grown these pears in China’s Xinjiang region for 1,300 years, but they’ve only been in the U.S. for about a year. (I discovered these pears right when they came here, but by the time I wanted to write about them, they were out of season. Now I appear out of the loop.)
Other Asian pears are crunchy and light, but the flesh is gritty and not very sweet. The skin is also thick and bitter. Fragrant pears are even crispier, but they are also sweet. Despite the skin’s appearance, they’re also entirely edible (except for the seeds of course). They are so juicy that you need to slurp quickly after taking a bite.
They are in season now, so head over to your local Chinatown or fancy supermarket. They’re not for the eco-conscious (it takes lots of jet fuel and protective packaging to ship them here), but they are very special.