Skip to content
Home » Korean Pears: Is It Safe to Eat Them with the Skin On?

Korean Pears: Is It Safe to Eat Them with the Skin On?

  • Food
Korean pears' health benefits, skin nutrition, variety, and pairing tips.

Korean pears have consistently topped domestic fruit exports over the last decade, gaining significant international popularity. Major export markets include Taiwan and the United States, but recently exports to Southeast Asian countries, including Hong Kong and Vietnam, are increasing. This growth reflects international recognition of the quality and taste of Korean pears. In Korea, it’s common to peel pears before eating. This habit also influences “ground pear” products, which typically exhibit the white flesh of the pear. However, in many other countries, it’s more common to eat pears with their skin on. This difference in consumption habits is also important from a health perspective.


1. Health Benefits of Eating Korean Pear Skin

From a health standpoint, it’s advisable to eat pears with their skin. Classified as alkaline food, pears have a water content of 85-88% and a sugar content of 8-14%. This means pears are rich in moisture and have a moderate sweetness. They are also rich in vitamins, dietary fiber, and minerals but low in calories, with only 51 kcal per 100g. These characteristics make pears a healthy snack option.
Research by a team from Sookmyung Women’s University suggests that dietary fiber in pears effectively helps in the expulsion of carcinogens and toxic substances from the intestines by prolonging their stay in the gut. These functional components are up to four times more abundant in the skin than in the flesh. Therefore, peeling the skin results in the loss of these nutrients, making it healthier to consume pears with their skin.


2. Characteristics of Korean Pears Skin

In Korea, most people perceive pear skin as brown, mainly because the most commonly seen variety in markets, “Pyrus pyrifolia,” has brown skin. However, pear skin color is actually diverse, and recently, the Rural Development Administration’s Pear Research Institute developed new pear varieties with green skin, such as ‘Greensis’ and ‘Snowfield.’ ‘Greensis’ has a smooth, bright green skin with a sweet yet subtle flavor. In contrast, ‘Snowfield’ features green skin with speckles and white flesh, and its color does not change even when cut. However, these new varieties are not yet widely produced, so they must be purchased directly from the growers, either online or offline.


3. Foods that Pair Well with Korean Pears

Pears, with their mild and non-irritating taste, pair well with various foods. Particularly, pears contain enzymes that break down protein, thus enhancing protein absorption when consumed with meat. This means pears can aid in digestion and nutrient absorption. However, it’s advisable to avoid consuming pears or apples, which are rich in vitamin C, with energy drinks. The sodium benzoate in energy drinks can react with the vitamin C in fruits to produce benzene, a known carcinogen that can cause health issues like anemia and a decrease in platelets.


4. Korean pears: Skin Patterns

It’s a common misconception that blotchy patterns on Korean pears skin indicate poor quality. However, these patterns result from a natural phenomenon called “russeting,” where micro-fissures in the skin heal over time. Russeting occurs as the pear’s skin heals from damage, creating distinctive patterns.

Pears with such patterns might look imperfect but are actually just as good in taste and quality. Russeting is a natural healing process and a typical physiological response of fruits to their natural environment. In fact, pears with these patterns represent the natural characteristics of fruit growth, maintaining the same level of taste and nutrition as other pears.