This document is a discussion of
the varieties of pears which are or have been used
for the production of perry. For detail on how to
make perry, please consult the perry
making guide; for a history of perry making
and pear growing in the UK, please consult the pears and perry history guide.
You can search the different types of apples using our Perry Pear Database.
This document is for information only. The contents
are as accurate as I can make them but no liability
quality inevitably depends on the type of pear used.
The classification of pears into different categories
is more ambiguous than for apples. The best classification
is probably that of Pollard and Beech who defined the
following categories: Sweet, Medium Sharp, Bittersweet
and Bittersharp although they state that the
latter category would probably be better named as Astringent-sharp.
The citric acid content of perry pears is also of importance,
but is not used for classification.
pears have low acidity; around 0.2% (w/v) (calculated
as malic acid), and fairly low tannin content; below
Medium Sharp pears have an acidity of between
0.2% and 0.6% (w/v) and a tannin content of below
Bittersweet pears have an acidity of below
0.45% (w/v) and a tannin content of above 0.2% (w/v).
Very few pear varieties fall into this category.
Bittersharp (Astringent-sharp) pears have an
acidity of greater than 0.45% (w/v) and a tannin content
of greater than 0.2% (w/v). These pears have a penetrating
flavour which is very striking since the tannin is
astringent rather than bitter. This category of pear
is unsuitable for eating (due to the harsh flavour)
but makes the best perries.
is quite a considerable number of varieties of pears,
many of which are now very rare. The majority of these
varieties can now only be found in the National Fruit
Trials collection at the Brogdale Horticultural Trust
in Faversham, Kent. Maybe less than 10 recognised perry
varieties are still grown for perry making.
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