Best pears for hard cider?

Are there any other hard cider makers here who can advise me on the best pears to add to hard cider made with apples?

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Hi Maureen, There are quite a few European pear varieties which are traditioanlly used for perry, most of the ones in circulation in the US are from England, many of those have colorful names like Yellow Huffcap, Gin, Butt, etc. There are a few from France and other countries. What most all of these have in common is some astringency which adds complexity to the finished product. Not many folks I know have experience with how these perform on this side of the pond. …I am growing some and maybe someday will get some fruit to press. These are not vigorous growers here, which raises the question of how locally adapted they might be…
Several years ago I came into several bushels of Kieffer pears, pressed and added the juice to a batch of cider, which turned out quite well, so its not strictly necessary to use only perry pears. I also grow a variety, Burford, which the fellow who introduced it said made good wine. This one grows beautifully.
I have seen Seckel cider sold commercially, and I know mainers who consider it a good producer, and tasty all-around.
Finally, I planted a package of p usseriensis x comunis hybrids from St Lawrence nursery, marketed for ‘Wine and wildlife’, John, David, Olia, Pepi are the varieties, and I have gotten some fruit from these which seemed pretty astringent, so should do well in the barrel, and are growing well.
Bottom line- I think you can make perry from any pear you want to, but looking for varieties which will be locally adapted, productive, have a good texture for juice extraction, and contain some astringency (at least some portion of the final blend should have that trait) would be the best bet. Let me know if I can help, with any scions of the varieties mentioned, or any other way.


Jese: How nice to hear from you! I still owe you fig cuttings.

Are you making apple cider in barrels? (We’re using glass carboys.) What types of barrels? Do you mix the pear juice in with the apple cider? Have you grown the Turkish pear variety ‘Deveci’? What is your opinion of Ohxf97 rootstock compared to OHxF87 for our climate? What are your pears planted on? Are you going to be teaching a workshop on cider making?

Could I trade you some of your pear scions for scions of figs? Will send you a fig list soon. Do you want to come and see the figs? And how late could I cut scions for you? (The Smith & others are dong well. Big fat buds developing under the Agribon.

Sorry for all the questions - I haven’t spoken to you in a while!

I use glass carboys as well. I have only gotten enough pears pressed to use the juice as a component in apple cider, in the years to come hope to make straigt perry…
I havent heard of the turkish pear variety you mention.
Most of my pears are on seedling pyrus comunis roots, some on '97. For my situation I like full vigor, and mostly dont mind waiting a bit longer for them to bear…but check in with me in another 10 years and might have a differnt perspective! I cant really speak to 87 vs 97…
i am pretty set on fig cuttings this year, but since you came to my grafting class last season, you do get lifetime free pass to scionwood, let me know if theres anything I can help you with and I will hook you up.
Maybe I will do a cider workshop this fall, stay tuned.

Thank you for the offer of scionwood. I would love to have a couple of each of Burford, Yellow Huffcap, Gin, Butt, if you have them to spare. We seem to be in a protected pocket here, as you noticed when you came to visit. USDA lists us as a 6A, so I’m wondering if the European pears would do well here? I’m already growing Abbe Fetel, White Doyenne and have 2 espaliers of a pear called Rescue. They are growing. No fruit yet.

John, David, Olia, and Pepi also sound interesting. Please send whatever you can spare. I’m going to graft them to my existing trees. Probably to a Seckel or Bartlett. Let me know what to send you for postage. Thank you for your generosity! We’ll be looking for your cider making workshop.