Growing a pear in a bottle has been one of my most fun garden projects, ever! They are so beautiful! It's a little miracle each time you look at that pear. In a bottle. Right there in the bottle. There it is. I can't get over it.
It's typically not a super highly successful venture to grow a pear in a bottle. We actually started out with 3 hoping to get one. But we are now proud parents of two lovely pears snugly submerged in spirits! Early this spring, just when the blossoms were falling off the tree and the little fruit was starting to form, we set to work. Please don't be put off and think this is a big undertaking, it's not.
Select a sturdy branch and remove all but the strongest pear. Remove foliage as well.
Scrub well your prettiest clear glass bottles.
These are single malt bottles and once held 750 ml. of Balvenie.
Carefully insert the branch into the bottle placing the little pear about halfway in the middle. Support the bottle by tying or hanging from a sturdy branch. We used strips of old sheets, but twine will work just as well. It's important that the neck opening is facing downward so rain water won't get in. If your bottle is not protected from full sun by the leaf canopy, give it a sun shield by draping the bottle with a thin layer or two of cheesecloth. Now it's just watching and waiting. I rarely had a day when I didn't walk over to take a peek and see how my little guys were doing. Early on we lost one but the other two thrived.
Fast forward a few months! Pears don't ripen well on trees and it's best to pick them hard and ripen them in a paper bag. So knowing that, when the pear is ready, cut the lashings, give the bottle a slight tug, the pear should come off easily. Bring the bottle in and wash the outside with warm soapy water being careful not to get the soapy water inside. I had very little debris inside the bottle but still rinsed it well several times. To do that, fill the bottle with water, swirl, dump and repeat several times. I read about doing a citric acid wash, but they were selling their alcohol, and I'm not, and I feel perfectly safe with my method.
So now here's the part where you fill the bottles with either clear brandy or vodka. It's not likely the pear will truly flavor the liquor, it's there just for show and you need to use pear brandy in the bottle. If you were a purist you would make your own pear brandy or pear flavored vodka. There's lots of info on the internet about that, possibly next year for us. But we didn't really plan too much ahead, just doing this for fun because we had a tree and it actually worked! We went to the liquor store and bought it. The eau de vie de poire that has a pear in it is TOO EXPENSIVE and of course you don't need that because you have your own pear in a bottle. Buy the bottle without the pear of course and pour it into your pear bottle. Because it's so expensive we bought pear vodka for the second bottle, it's much cheaper. Attach pretty labels, cap it, you are done.
Now for the best part! Drinking it! I have never had pear brandy or pear vodka before now. The brandy was great on it's own but I actually preferred it on the rocks. The vodka was sublime with tonic. We've only just begun and I'm sure there's many ways to enjoy this lovely stuff. I found this recipe for a Sidecar. I'm thinking of doing something with a dessert, maybe a chicken or pork dish? But mostly I want to just look at it. Eau de vie de poire, you are beautiful!
If you have access to a pear tree or apple tree I hope you'll give this a try next year. It's really not difficult at all. I'm going to scout out some thrift store decanters and try for a few more next year.