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In August, I found these cute mini pears at the Green Market. I think they are called pickle pears. What do you do with "pickle" pears? Pickle them, right? Instead, I remembered Yoko's post on homemade umeshu (plum wine), and decided to make homemade pear liqueur.

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The last time I was at Mitsuwa, they had a pre-packaged homemade umeshu set (a jar, plums, white liqueur and rock sugar). Since I was taking a bus, I didn't want to have to carry it. We have a convenient Japanese grocery store Dainobu nearby my work, and I remembered them selling Kori sato (direct translation = ice cube sugar). I used to suck on them just like candy, and they are widely used when making homemade liqueur. They are simply sugar in rock form.

Typical jar for homemade liqueur is a glass with a plastic red jar. I went to The Container Store, and found a large glass jar, which worked perfectly. An air tight seal is the key to avoid any germs from growing inside (however, I bet the high alcohol contents will prevent this from going bad anyways).

Making this is very easy.

What you need:

- About 2lbs. of pickle pear
- 2 bags of rock sugar
- Magnum bottle of vodka (Don't buy the premium. Even if you have it, save it for regular drinks, and get the cheapy kind instead for this).

Rock sugar:

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That's it. In Japan, you can buy white liquor (which is basically flavorless alcohol to use for making liqueurs), but you can totally substitute with vodka.

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Method:

Wash pears, and get rid of the stems. I cut them in half for no particular reason, thinking it would give it a stronger flavor. Dry and dump the pears into the jar, add sugar, vodka, and keep in cool dark place for six months.

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After six months, take the fruits out (I bet these will make a killer pear tart or cake). You can drink at this point, but I heard waiting a year makes a milder liqueur.

It's now mid-November, and this is how it looks. The amber color is pretty mouth-watering, isn't it?

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As a teaser, I cut up some persimmons and added to the liqueur. Apparently this is how some of the most expensive kaiseki restaurants in Kyoto serves dessert in the fall. Unfortunately, $1.39 persimmons weren't ripe enough. Have you had unripen persimmons before? They were so shibui (the English language doesn't really have the word that describes persimmon's "shibui"-ness: not edible, too bitter, too tart, but not quite these words). You'll know when you encounter a shibui persimmon.

Anyhow, the liqueur itself is pretty good. Definitely on the sweet side due to rock sugar plus sweetness from the fruit.

*Yamahomo enjoys cooking and baking. He prefers staying in kitchen all weekend long rather than being outside.
Column: ReCPY
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9 comments

  • Looks delish. But are you sure you didn't misread the pear sign? I think those are seckel pears. (But I could be wrong…)

    cjones on

  • I still have to blog about the result of my umeshu and biwashu, which both turned out very, very rich and delicious. The amber-red color is amazing! I would die to try a baked good you make from this.

    yoko on

  • I know what you're talking about!! There is a word in Korean also to describe the unplesant-ness of persimmons that are not yet ripe.

    I loooove persimmons when they get nice and soft!

    Ambitious on

  • It's not my mistake. The sign clearly said "pickle pears" at green market. Scuse me, I don't spell 'sweets' as 'sweats', or 'waste of time' as 'waist of time' or say, 'turn light and walk two more blocks'. sank you so much!

    Yamahomo on

  • OMG CJONES i just peeed my pants. i'm gonna keep it as is, just cause it is SO HILARIOUS and the biggest UM fail ever.

    no one should ever call UM a foodie site!! HAHA.

    kayoko on

  • shibui = astringent

    Same thing you get from tea or grape skins or wine… though on a much gentler scale than with persimmons.

    pheel on

  • I have never seen this done with western pears. I am getting ready to make some of this with Japanese (which is really Chinese) quince.

    Michael [KyotoFoodie] on

  • If I may make a quick point about the vodka used for infusions—while you don't need to buy an expensive vodka (actually you should never pay more than $30 for a bottle of vodka regardless of what you're using it for), vodkas distilled from potatoes absorb the flavor of the infusions better than others, primarily b/c of its higher starch content. Just something to keep in mind.

    Can't wait to see how this turns out!

    Paystyle on

  • The whole "pickle pear" drama, whoever it was that started it (shame on you, Green Market!), is just hilarious. love you, Yama.

    kayoko on

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