There are over 100 varieties (most of them grown in Japan) of this firm, amazingly juicy pear whose season is late summer through early fall. In size and color, they range from huge and golden brown to tiny and yellow-green. In general, ripe Asian pears are quite firm to the touch, crunchy to the bite (unlike the pears we're used to), lightly sweet and drippingly juicy. The most common Asian pear in the United States is the Twentieth Century (also known as nijisseiki), which is large, round and green to yellow in color. Ripe Asian pears should be stored in the refrigerator. Also called apple pear, Chinese pear, Japanese pear and Nashi. See also pear.
From The Food Lover's Companion, Fourth edition by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst. Copyright © 2007, 2001, 1995, 1990 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.