Why make you shud­der

NZ Lifestyle Block - - In The Orchard -

Lots of folk have opin­ions on just how bad nashi pears are to eat. “Oh no, too wa­tery.” “No flavour, bland.” “I don’t like them.” The nashi or ‘Asian’ pears they’re talk­ing about are all ones bought from a su­per­mar­ket, and that’s where you’re go­ing wrong if you have a sim­i­lar opin­ion and haven’t tried one fresh and at the per­fect pick­ing point.

As with ap­ples and all the other pipfruit we can buy in su­per­mar­kets, it has been sent back to the lo­cal mar­ket be­cause it’s not good enough to ex­port. They are too big or too small, picked early and cool stored, not fully tree-ripened, not sym­met­ri­cal enough.

Their bland flavour is a re­sult of our im­per­fect sup­ply chain, and our sta­tus as re­tail con­sumers of ex­port re­jects.

But try a nashi, or any pear, fresh from the tree, picked in ideal con­di­tions, and they are one of the most de­li­cious fruit you can eat. Nashi suit New Zealand’s cli­mate, es­pe­cially where it’s a bit like France: nice cool win­ters, plenty of rain, good drainage. Sim­i­lar con­di­tions can also be found in Ja­pan, the home of the nashi ( Pyrus pyri­fo­lia). They will han­dle quite stoney ground and cold win­ters with snow, so if you can grow plums and cher­ries in­land, it’s an­other sta­ple va­ri­ety.

Nashi can be early or late sea­son. The best per­former in NZ seems to be Ho­sui, but I have a good seedling pip-grown one which fruits late. The late fruit lingers on if the wasps stay away, and ripens to a deep or­ange-brown.

Th­ese are beau­ti­ful trees too. Give it good shel­ter, plenty of ma­nure, wa­ter it through north­ern droughts, and prune ev­ery year quite mer­ci­lessly, and you’ll get the most thrilling blos­som dis­play. It will at­tract bees to all your pipfruit trees, help­ing other pears to be pol­li­nated, then bear the sweet­est droplets of juice you’ll ever taste.

Like all pears, if you pick and eat them the very day be­fore they rot you will be trans­ported to fruit heaven, and nashi are no ex­cep­tion. Visi­tors here try the ripe fruit of­fered to them and can’t be­lieve the dif­fer­ence be­tween a store-bought one and the juicy flesh that’s sim­i­lar to a melon.

A real or­ganic ripe nashi will never dis­ap­point. It will be golden, crisp but yield­ing, burst­ing with juice, and full of sun­light and nat­u­ral sug­ars. Per­haps you will find you do like nashis af­ter all.

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