In this period of Covid-19 self quarantining, I thought I’d share a simple Chinese recipe for pear soup. According to traditional Chinese medicine, pears are good for your lungs. Covid-19 attacks the lungs, so right now we especially need to keep our lungs healthy.
Once in Nanjing when I was sick, a good friend came to my home to cook this pear soup for me. This week when I remembered the soup, I googled “pear lungs” to see if I was crazy, and a long list of articles appeared that argue for the link between pears and lung health. It’s not just hocus-pocus.
Think of it as a simple brothy compote. You cut pears into chunks, then poach in water until they are soft. It is important to keep the peel on. Some of the lung-healing magic is found in the peel. Ginger and honey are optional.
You can use any kind of pear you like. This week I picked up three varieties, which have slightly different flavors and textures. These huge red ones are cute, almost like red delicious apples.
In the current time of supermarket chaos and pandemic hoarding, pears are still in the stores. They’re not disappearing off the shelves like pasta, TP, and eggs. So, you should be able to find pears near you.
I decided to photograph the pears in my backyard after the rain. On a dark day, the house was too dark for photography. The backyard has a nice marshy atmosphere right now.
A few days ago I told my friend Sue that I was cooking this pear soup to help strengthen my lungs. She quickly exclaimed that in Korea people also poach pears when they’re sick. She said they often use ginger and sometimes stuff the ginger inside the pears to poach. I hadn’t had this with ginger before but it builds on the health benefits, and also makes the pear soup perky and more refined. I’m hooked.
1 inch ginger
Core the pears but do not peel them. Cut the pears into roughly 1-inch chunks.
Peel the ginger and slice it.
Place the pear and ginger in a pot. Add enough filtered water to just cover the pears. Bring to a boil, then reduce to low.
Cover and simmer until the pears are soft and slightly translucent.
Serve warm or hot, with an optional half teaspoon of honey per bowl. If you make a large patch, this keeps well in the fridge for a few days.
Sending best wishes to all of you. Hope you stay safe and healthy.