Having recently begun picking fruit in an orchard that has a number of perry pear trees, we have decided to try making a Dorset perry. This is our first attempt at making perry, and it is a drink that is well known for being an unpredictable and delicate creation, so we certainly aren’t taking anything for granted. However we hope that our first attempt will be successful and are approaching the task with a positive attitude.
For the uninitiated, making perry involves the same basic process as making full-juice cider, but instead of using apples, it uses pears. A ‘perry pear’ is the pear equivalent of a ‘cider apple’. Although some perry pears can be eaten as a dessert fruit, most of them are far too tannic to be palatable and so instead they are used to make perry. This is the same principle as for traditional cider apples which are usually too tannic to be consumed as eating apples, but are ideal for making full-bodied cider.
The orchard has a few different varieties of perry pear tree, and their fruits ripen at slightly different times. They also ripen before most of the cider apples we pick, so this works out well for organising our picking schedule. We have now picked almost all of the pears – handpicked to ensure the fruit is in the best condition – and have been busy pressing them.
The juice that has been pressed is happily fermenting away in the cider shed. So it’s very much a case of so far, so good!
Once we have picked and pressed all of the pears, we can turn our attention back to apples and cider. Despite the heatwave and drought, the harvest doesn’t seem to have been too badly affected and we have high hopes for the 2022 vintage of Temple ciders (and perries…?).