Saturday, 5 September 2009

Asian Pear: Shinsui

Just a postscript to previous comments about Shinsui. I left the remaining fruits on the tree for as long as possible (in fact too long, as most dropped off overnight a couple of days ago). Flavour was certainly improved for leaving as long as possible, with a definite fragrant, quite rich pineapple-like flavour (like one that is very over-ripe and has lost all acidity). 

Shinsui is a very decorative tree, free from disease and so far hardy and heavy cropping. The fruit keeps a very long time in storage, eventually going brown and soft from the middle. However, I'd only plant it if you like Asian pears or are a fruit variety 'completionist'; they can be something of an acquired taste, and are sometimes fairly insipid (much sweeter/richer than those available in Chinese supermarkets). My feelings are less mixed than they were though.

Two characterics of Shinsui mentioned in catalogues are it's light crops and self-sterility. I have had a heavy crop every year since the tree was a maiden, so much so that the branches can be inclined to break. My tree is fairly isolated from the other pears, and Shinsui is one of the first to flower and yet pollination is excellent. Either the bees are doing a wonderful job commuting between this tree and far-distant other early pears, or is it in fact partially self-fertile? I will experiment with covering/hand pollinating a section next year just as an experiment.

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