Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Fruit and Glass

Hello from Vermont!
An introduction: my parents and I have been working on our garden in North Bennington for 9 years now. Starting with a bare, plowed patch, it has grown in very nicely, requiring less and less work to start it up every year. The field it's in was once a cow field, so the soil is pretty rich, and we've tried to stay well rotated in our crops. We've had all kinds of vegetables and flowers but until recently, we had never ventured into fruits. Starting with raspberry bushes, we've now got a little bevvy of sweets come harvest time. Grapes, blueberries, pears, a crab apple tree out back, and soon peaches will be ready for harvest.

We've found out a couple of things: Blueberries love coffee grounds. The high acidity of the grounds encourage them to make tart fruit, and help them get bluer faster. So far we haven't had any this year, (they're just turning blue now) but we'll see if this holds true.

We grow two crops of raspberries, one mid summer and one early fall, cutting the dead canes all the way down to the ground at the end of every season to ensure they bounce back harder. The mid summer crop, though, seems to do better with a few canes left. this might be due to the way they root sometimes, dipping their arms into the ground and starting new root balls at the elbow, making what looks like bouncing ball sing-a-longs of fruit. Lilac trees do this too, but more on that another time. this years midsummer crop is just past flowering, and it looks like there'll be a lot of raspberries:
But with pears, I'm now falling in love, because I'm into bottling fruits on the tree, to make pear flavored liquor.

The fruit grows into the bottles, until it's too big to come out, and will stay preserved in there after for as long as you live, due to the preservative nature of alcohol. To see a pear in a bottle is to want one for yourself. in my opinion.

Anyway, to bottle fruit, you get bottle that has a small neck and wide body (like you always look for) and tie it to he tree, slipping it over nubile young stems and supporting it very generously.

Here's a nice video with a creepy old man who told me how to bottle pears.

The selection of the right pear is the most important part, and you'll do well to find a long stem to slip into the bottle, with a larger branch above it to support the weight of the glass. I used pantyhose along with waxed twine to support the bottles, which can hold a rounded shape better than string alone.
After some wrangling inside the tree, this what I came up with: two bottles suspended on what I think are the king pears of the stems.
It's importantly to keep the bottles angled in a such so as to keep the water out of them, otherwise the pears may rot.
Hopefully, by the end of the summer, I'll have a pear in a bottle, ready to put some poire or maybe brandy into. I'm so excited.

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