For the fruit enthusiasts who are still in denial of summer's end, it's time to get on with winter pears – and better yet, pear brandy. If you're lucky enough to have a pear tree and are as experimental as the gardeners at Babylonstoren in South Africa, then this DIY project is for you.
The gardeners at the Cape Winelands hotel started the process by holding their growing pears hostage with a glass bottle. Once the pears were full grown inside the bottles, they harvested the captive fruit and began the brandy process. First they cleaned the inside of the jars with a sterile solution and filled them up with one of three alcohol solutions: clean Vodka, pear distillate, and fructose-sweetened plum distillate. They allowed the brandy to sit a while before sampling and once finished, stocked their Farm Shop with the bottles.
Above: When the pears were small enough to fit through the neck of an average bottle, the gardeners at Babylonstoren bottled them upside down in the tree.
Above: The green d'Anjou pears during the early stages of the brandy process.
N.B.: Own an orchard (or just one fruit tree)? See 64 Gardenista posts on Fruit Harvesting.