Asian pears are related to the pears that are typically seen in grocery stores, but this fruit is similar to an apple and its many names reflect that characteristic. Other names that this fruit goes by are: Chinese pear, Japanese pear, Sand, Nashi, and apple pear.
Asian pears are usually round, firm to touch when ripe, and ready to eat after harvest. Asian pears reach prime quality when they ripen on the tree, like apples and peaches do. Asian pears will be crisp, juicy, and slightly sweet with some tartness, especially near the core.
There are several Asian pear varieties available. Japanese pears are more round in shape, while the Chinese pears are more oval or pyriform (pear-shaped).
In the United States, the Japanese type of Asian pear called 20th Century or Nijisseki is the most popular. It is easily identified with its round shape and smooth yellow skin. Other common varieties include the Japanese bronze-toned Hosui pear and the pear-shaped Ya Li, a pale-green Chinese variety.
Select the most fragrant and unbruised fruit with little to no brown spots. Ripe Asian pears are hard and do not soften. They are ready to eat when purchased.
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The harvest season on the northern hemisphere usually begins in mid july, in southern regions and lasts until mid september, when the Asian pears are harvested in more northern regions. 
Asian pears are known for keeping well. Store pears a week at room temperature or up to three months in the refrigerator.
- "Asian Pear Culture in Alabama" aces.edu