Sunday, December 27, 2015
Bradford Pear Wine!
You should be well acquainted with Bradford Pear trees. They are everywhere, and they smell awful in the spring. They are some of the most popular landscaping trees around. They are attractive, nicely shaped and resistant to most diseases. However the roots are shallow, the limbs are weak and a strong wind storm easily destroys older trees. They were imported in 1910 from China and are generally sterile. However when they do produce and birds transport the seeds, the feral trees become great producers of tiny tart pears about the size of a cherry. You can pick them in September and early October.
The fruit is edible but needs the right recipe as it is very tart. There are not a lot of recipes since the tree is a recent addition to the US and was not widespread during the Great Depression when people would have experimented with it more. I like to try something new with it every year since it is widely available. This year was wine and now a favorite! The flavor is sweet, strong, and tastes like pears. The primary fermenting container is a lidded glass container which is 2.5 gallons and was purchased at Walmart for about $12. You can find it next to the canning jars.
Bradford Pear Wine Recipe
8 cups of Bradford Pears
2 gallons water
12 cups sugar
4 teaspoons loose tea
1 campden tablet
1 lime, sliced
1 teaspoon pectin enzyme
2 teaspoons yeast nutrient
1 pack of yeast (wine yeast is best but baking yeast works fine)
2 or 2.5 gallon lidded crock
Rinse pears and remove stems. In sections, crush pears by double bagging and using a rolling pin (or step on). Don't use a food processor. You do not want to break the seeds as it may make your wine bitter. Add to a two gallon lidded crock.
Boil 1 gallon of water and sugar. Pour over crushed pears. Add tea. Add crushed campden tablet. Mix. Add sliced lime. Mix. If there is space in fermenting jar, add water from the other gallon of water until full. Mix.
Let sit over night (24 hours).
Add 1 teaspoon pectin enzyme and mix. Let sit for six hours.
Add yeast nutrient and yeast. Add lid and clear plastic wrap around lid to prevent anything from entering (a single fruit fly could destroy the entire batch). Occasionally stir. Let sit until bubbles subside. Mine took about eight weeks and was quite strong. Rack wine to clean bottle(s). Rack again once it settles for clear wine.
For best results let wine age six months, though you can drink it at this point.