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Preserving Your Fruit Crops, or Getting Drunk on Apricots!

While planning how to preserve and store your summer and fall fruit harvests, there’s one thing you should keep in mind…no bartender’s ever said, “All right pal! You’ve had one too many apricots, I’m cutting you off!” See where I’m headed with this? You can eat all the fruit your mother wanted you to AND get as drunk as your Uncle Harvey did at family gatherings! Genius, right? Everybody’s happy.

In their book, Preserving Food Without Freezing or Canning: Traditional Techniques Using Salt, Oil, Sugar, Alcohol, Vinegar, Drying, Cold Storage, and Lactic Fermentation, the Gardeners & Farmers of Terre Vivant explain how they preserve their fruit crops indefinitely using brandy. (Apple) bottoms up!

The following recipes are from Preserving Food Without Freezing or Canning. They have been adapted for the web.

Dried Apricots in Brandy

3 1/2 lbs. dried apricots
1 vanilla bean
Brandy
2 tablespoons sugar
2 cups water
A saucepan
Canning jar and lid

Pour about one-half inch of brandy into a jar; then add the apricots, in layers, inserting several ¼-inch pieces of vanilla bean here and there. Fill the jar to one and a quarter inches below the rim. Make a syrup in a saucepan, using two cups of water and dissolving the sugar over low heat. Let this cool and pour it over the fruit. Close the jar airtight, and shake gently to mix the sugar and the brandy.

Store the apricots in a dark, dry place; wait two months before eating them (patience!). They will keep indefinitely.

— Jean-Yves Cousseau, Millau

Prunes in Brandy

2 lbs. prunes

FOR THE LINDEN TEA:
A handful of dried
linden flowers
3 cups water
A jar
A saucepan

FOR THE SYRUP:
1 quart brandy
24 cubes of sugar
[¾ cup]
1 cup water

Make a linden tea by steeping the linden flowers in three cups of water. Filter this and soak the prunes in the tea for twelve hours. Drain the prunes and put them in a jar. Over low heat, make a syrup using the twenty-four cubes of sugar and one cup of water. Pour this over the prunes, and then cover them well with brandy. Seal the jar.

Wait fifteen days before eating. These prunes will keep indefinitely.

— Jean-Yves Cousseau, Millau

Raspberries in Brandy

Raspberries
Plain brandy
2½ cups sugar
A saucepan
Canning jar and lid

Fill a jar halfway with plain brandy. Add ripe but firm whole raspberries as you pick them. When the jar is full, close it and let it stand for forty days.

Add the following liqueur-like syrup: Put the sugar (about two and a half cups of sugar per one quart of brandy) in a saucepan with a bit of water. Let the sugar slowly dissolve until it becomes an opaque white. Allow this syrup to cool before pouring it over the raspberries. The raspberries remain whole. They’re delicious and can be served as a garnish for ice cream.

— Christine Moulinier, Sadirac

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