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I'm about to macerate some fruit to make sweet liqueur (first attempt), and am using the generic instructions from homedistiller.org:

Fruit Liqueur

  • Place cleaned fruit in a large jar.
  • Add alcohol (50%abv) to cover fruit.
  • Seal and macerate for 10 days. The fruit soaks up the alcohol and releases some juice.
  • First racking. Gently pour off liquid so as not to blemish fruit. Layer fruit in jar with sugar (cover most of fruit).
  • Seal jar. The sugar makes the fruit release the alcohol and shrivel slightly. In a couple of days the level of juice in the jar should reach almost to the top of the fruit.
  • Second racking. Pour off liquid.
  • Layer fruit again with sugar
  • Third racking. Pour off liquid. Repeat process until only a very small amount of juice is released.

Each racking is sweeter and sweeter. Blend the different rackings to get the desired strength and sweetness. The leftover makes a great syrup for ice-cream.

What I want to know is whether or not I should be chopping the fruit up into large chunks, or doing it whole? Logic would suggest that chopping gives a greater surface area, but it might not be that simple.

If it changes the answer, I'm doing one lot with Pear and another with Apples.

  • Downvoted, offtopic for a brewing advice discussion. – TinCoyote Jan 10 '11 at 23:17
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You almost certainly want to cut up the apples / pears. Minimally, you don't want to inadvertently extract any flavorings from the seeds, but you also won't get any juice to be extracted through osmosis without exposing the fruit. You don't need to slice as thin as if you were preparing the fruit for drying, but you do want small pieces or slices that will stack well, and - as you surmised - yield a larger surface area.

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