Some friends recently bought a house within walking distance to ours, and so the other day we walked over to welcome them to the neighborhood. Upon our arrival, I was absolutely delighted and astounded to see the abundant fruit trees and grape vines that are part of their property. The original owners had obviously taken great care of these trees, because although they need some serious pruning they were all heavily laden with beautiful pears, apples, late harvest plums, figs and grapes.
My delight was countered by my friends’ dismay at having to pick all of the fallen fruit off the grass to keep the bees away and the looming question of “What are we going to do with it all?” Knowing they had just moved in, and most likely were not ready to start a serious canning project this year, I suggested preserving as much of it as they can in alcohol. Preserving fruit in alcohol is very simple; you just mix fruit and sugar, cover with alcohol and let it sit until Christmas. Preserving with alcohol kills any bacteria so you don’t need to stress about creating an anaerobic environment. It is the easiest way to get your foot into the canning world, and although you can go to the store and buy a pretty tasty jar of jam, you cannot buy peaches preserved in brandy. Stay tuned next week for some great boozy fruit recipes and ideas for your abundant harvest!