Perry is a traditional alcoholic beverage made by the fermentation of juice from specific pears. It can be brewed at home. Some call this drink 'pear cider'. When perry is made from real perry pears it is a refreshing, light and delicate drink, rivalling high quality champagne.
Perry pears are cultivars selected for characteristics that make high quality perry. Early settlers sailed to new lands bringing these special fruits, thus distributing them across the globe.
Some of these unique, historic cultivars have survived through the years and been rediscovered by enthusiastic brewers. We list some of them here, along with what is known of their history, description, flavour characteristics and a few sources for trees.
This book is one of a series written for 'backyard farmers' of the 21st century. The series focuses on rare and heritage fruit in Australia, although it includes much information of interest to fruit enthusiasts around the world.
'Heritage' or 'heirloom' fruits such as old-fashioned varieties of apple, quince, fig, plum, peach and pear are increasingly popular due to their diverse flavours, excellent nutritional qualities and other desirable characteristics. They are part of our horticultural, vintage and culinary inheritance. To pick a tree-ripened heritage fruit from your own back yard and bite into it is to experience the taste of fresh food as our forefathers knew it.
During the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries fruit diversity was huge, but in modern supermarkets only a limited range of commercial fruit varieties is now available to consumers.
Heritage, heirloom and rare fruit enthusiasts across the world are currently reviving our horticultural legacy by renovating old orchards and identifying 'lost', unusual and historic fruit varieties. The goal is to make a much wider range of fruit trees available again to the home gardener.
This series of handbooks aims to help.