Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Pears Galore

A couple of weeks ago, on one of the first cool(ish) days of the fall, the whole family went out to pick pears from the trees in the yard. We tried hand picking them, but most were out of our reach. Daddy decided that the simplest solution was to shake the branches and have the kids collect the fallen pears from the ground.

 About a quarter of the pears became pear butter. I ended up with 12 quarts of delicious, spicy goodness in the freezer, some of which may go to loved ones this Christmas.


The vast majority of the pears were set aside for a special project: Pear Wine. Now, I've made one batch of wine before, but a couple of gallons of dandelion wine this summer didnt really prepare me for the challenge we were planning...nearly 50 gallons!
 That's right, I said 50 gallons of wine. Why? Well, we just happen to have a clean, food grade, 55 gallon drum that Daddy got from a local soda bottling facility and this seemed like a good use for it.

 First the girls picked through the fruit, pulling the stems off and setting aside bruised pieces. 

Next, we used the apple peeler/slicer/corer to get the pears into small pieces, so we could get them in the barrel. We could have just chopped them up, but the hand crank machine is much faster and makes very uniform slices. 
 Bug's favorite job was shoving the pear pieces through the funnel and into the hole in the top of the barrel.

 After every bowl full of pear pieces she would check to see if it was full yet...

Finally, we finished the pears, added the sugar, water, and yeast and capped it off with our improvised airlock. It started bubbling within an hour and hasn't stopped since.