Do You Eat The Skin of An Asian Pear?

Enjoying Asian Pears

Asian pears have the crispness of apples, with a flavor similar to that of the "traditional" European pear. With that combination, it's no wonder they're often called apple pears. But while they taste similar to European pears, different Asian pear varieties can deliver flavor notes ranging from butterscotch or cinnamon.

Pears that have "russeted" skin are less tender, at least in patches. Russeting refers to browner, thicker skin. On Asian pears, the russeting may be characteristic of the entire surface, or just some parts. The skin is still edible, but may not be to everyone's taste. Asian pear skin is most similar to that of a European Bosc pear.

Ask your grocer for advice and samples, and you're sure to come up with pears which you prefer. If you're stuck with a variety that's tougher-skinned than you'd like, peel and chop the Asian pears for use in a dinner salad or cooked dessert.

Crunch Into Some Fiber

While Asian pears tend to have thicker skins than their European counterparts, the trade-off is a higher fiber content. The American Council on Exercise's Nutrition section notes that a large Asian pear has about 10 grams of fiber, compared to the 7 grams a large European pear contains.

Dietary fiber is crucial to your health. Adults need an average of about 30 grams of fiber each day, according to the Mayo Clinic. With up to 10 grams of fiber, an Asian pear provides about one-third of the fiber you need for the day.

Asian Pears Deliver Other Nutrients

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's figures, a large Asian pear has 116 calories. It also contains 30 grams of carbohydrates and about 1.5 grams of protein, with no saturated fat.

Aside from their rich fiber content, Asian pears are also a good source of vitamin C and vitamin K. The fruit also delivers at least 5 percent of the potassium and magnesium your body needs for the day. In addition, Asian pears provide vitamin E, calcium and zinc.

So, nutritionally speaking, what's the difference between an apple and a pear? The Asian types of pear have about twice the fiber and protein as apples, according to USDA. They're also higher in most of the vitamins and minerals that both contain, although apples are slightly higher in vitamin E than Asian pears.

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