How do you get a full-grown pear inside a Brandy bottle?

A tree filled with potential pears in bottles!

It’s more than a sleight of hand; it’s a French technique that is being tried out in Babylonstoren, South Africa. It may be easier than putting a ship in a bottle but requires just as much patience.

The pear isn’t put into the bottle; it grows inside it. When the fruit is small, the bottle is affixed to the tree branch, and the pear grows to maturity inside the bottle.

Pear in a bottle at Babylonstoren

1 The process has to be started as soon as possible after the flowers have been pollinated and the fruit has begun to form. Then you have to practise your own version of selection before the June “drop”, when a proportion of fruit falls from the tree naturally.

2 Once you’ve selected your pears, remove the leaves near the fruit. Foliage in the bottle may rot or introduce pests and diseases, as well as restricting air circulation.

3 Tie a length of string around the neck of the bottle, then wrap the bottle in plastic netting. Now insert the narrow branch bearing the pear. The ideal position for the pear is just beyond the neck of the bottle so that it has plenty of room to grow.

Wrap the string around the body of the bottle and hang it from a nearby branch
Wrap the string around the body of the bottle and hang it from a nearby branch

4 Wrap the string around the body of the bottle and hang it from a nearby branch, using other branches to support it. The bottle must hang upside down so that moisture and dew can drain away and nothing can fall in. Don’t hang the bottle from the branch that bears the fruit – the combined weight of fruit plus bottle could break the branch. The fruiting branch also needs to move freely in the neck of the bottle so that it does not get damaged, causing the fruit to break up prematurely.

5 Protect the fruit from excess sunlight throughout the summer by wrapping the bottle in thin white horticultural fleece. Too much sun will make the fruit mature too quickly and it won’t grow as big as it could. 6 Then just wait, once the pear is ripe it will detach naturally from the branch.

Brandy made from Pears is added, and voila! The magic is complete. 

Pear in a bottle!!!

Just one question remains. What do you do with the pear when you’ve drunk all the brandy?


  1. Well done. Thanks for the post. I’ve always been a fan of Poire Williams and had wondered about the pear.
    Last question: cut the pear out inside the bottle with a slim knife and eat it… 🙂


  2. My brother has an apple preserved in spirits in a bottle – well sealed at the top – which was dated to commemorate the birth of our great grandfather, James Buckley, born in Bray, Co. Wicklow, Southern Ireland in 1843! Our Dad said that the apple was older than that, but the date was added to make it a birth commemoration.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. A fun bit of information. Since I do not drink alcoholic beverages, I will not be able to answer about taste after creation, but I will store the “how” for that moment when someone asks, “But how did they…?”

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I knew I’d be caught by a trick, and I was. Still, it’s a very ingenious trick and thank you for showing it. Unfortunately I have no pear tree in my garden. Wonder if it would work on raspberries, or strawberries. Would help keep my mitts off them!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I can remember we used to have a bottle of calvados with an apple inside at home :-). My aunt used to live in France for some time, in Normandy (apple & cider & calvados) and I have seen apple trees with bottles on them, just as you describe 🙂
    I think you had to keep topping up the bottle with new alcohol to keep the apple submerged though, as otherwise it would go mouldy???


  6. My husband says in France is called “the Williams pear”…They make with it “Poire Williams”, a, eau de vie (liqueur)..He knows it…As for me, I have never seen that in my life!!! Incredible!!! Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Clever and very visual! I had the similar question when I got a bottle of rakia with a fully grown cucumber in it and couldn’ t believe the answer was so…”simple”. 🙂


Please share your thoughts,I would love to know what you think!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.