Distilleries are using ugly fruit to make liqueur — and it’s as tasty as ever
Sometimes you need a little liquid courage to face the day — especially if you, like us, spend your days poring over scary climate issues.
Well, now you can feel a little better about that nearly empty bottle rolling around under your desk: Some distilleries are joining the food waste fight by sourcing overripe, undersized, or malformed fruit to produce their heavenly elixirs.
One such place is Colorado-based Peach Street Distillers. After Peach Street’s leaders learned about America’s nasty food waste problem (ahem — we toss out nearly 40 percent of our food supply), they began sourcing local farmers’ leftovers. Here’s more from Civil Eats:
To produce 10,000 cases of artisanal spirits annually, including pear eaux de vie and apple brandy, Clear Creek Distillery partnered with a packing house in the Hood River Valley to buy fruit that is too small or too scarred to be sold in supermarkets. Clear Creek buys upwards of 600,000 pounds of pears a year, using up to 30 pounds of fruit for each bottle.
While farmers expect a certain percentage of their yield to be graded as seconds, there are often unexpected crop failures that cause additional waste.
For instance, this season, farmers in Colorado’s Grand Valley will struggle to sell their pears through traditional retailers because heavy rains caused scarring on the fruit. When there is too much rain in Oregon, leaving cherries with deep gashes in the flesh, farmers call Clear Creek about selling them the “split fruit” for their cherry liqueur.
And there’s another benefit: The more ripe the fruit, the higher the sugar content.
“If we purchased fruit at peak ripeness, we’d have to wait for it to continue ripening–past the point when supermarkets would take it–because higher sugar content produces better spirits,” Koons explains.
In the words of the world’s foremost spirits expert, Ron Swanson, “There’s no wrong way to consume alcohol.” But this, my friends — this is a very, very, very right way.