Nashi. Li. Bae. Nashpati.Prunus pyrifolia. Prunus serotina. Asian Pear. Japanese Pear. Korean Pear. Sand Pear. Apple Pear. There are many names for the deliciously crisp and juicy pear that we grow here at Kingsburg Orchards. And we haven’t even touched on variety names yet. Many consumers are still just discovering this wonderful fruit, and it has been described as one of the “hottest new items since the kiwi.” However, these pears have been a part of Chinese culture for over 3,000 years.
The first historical accounts of the pears appears in the Shi Jing, a collection of Chinese writings that were compiled over 1200 years ago. In Japan, they are mentioned in the Japanese Book of Records, Nihon-shoki, published in 720. By 1860, there were more than 150 cultivars of these pears that had been recorded. What is incredible about this number is that it can take ten to fifteen years to develop a single new variety.
In the 1850’s, the seeds of the Apple Pear were brought to California by Chinese laborers who were immigrating to America during the California Gold Rush. They began cultivating them and the pears have been grown here ever since. Kingsburg Orchards has been growing them since the 1980s and is involved in cultivating new varieties - our first successful proprietary variety being the Crunchy Gold yellow skinned Apple Pear which has been widely popular since its release.
In the Edo period, pears were planted in the corners of properties to ward off misfortune.
In China, the pear is symbolic of justice, longevity, purity, wisdom and benevolent administration.
In Korea, it symbolizes grace, nobility and purity and the pear tree symbolizes comfort.
In the Western “Language of Flowers” pear blossoms symbolize affection.
The pear flower is found on the crest of the Lee dynasty in Korea.
In a sixth century church mosaic in Jordan, the pear tree is included as one of the four sacred trees.
In cooking, ground Apple Pears can be used in vinegar or soy sauce-based sauces as a sweetener, instead of sugar. They can also be used as a tenderizer in marinades, particularly for beef.