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Preserving fruits in spirit

Fruit preserved for a month or more in alcohol makes wonderful, easy-to-make winter desserts. Most fruits are suitable, with the exception of very watery ones such as melons as these dilute the alcohol, which may result in mold growth or fermentation.

For the best results, use ripe, unblemished fruit: berries should be hulled; currants, gooseberries and grapes stripped of their stalks; nectarines, peaches, apricots and plums should be halved and stoned; pineapples should be peeled, cored and sliced or cubed; cherries and kumquats should be pricked and kept whole; apples and pears should be peeled, cored and sliced. Firmer fruit such as peaches, apples and pears are better if they are poached in a sugar syrup first.

Pack the prepared fruit into clean jars, layering it with sugar as you go, then cover with alcohol such as rum, brandy, kirsch, vodka or any flavored liqueur. Cooked fruits are packed with their cooled sugar syrup plus an equal quantity of alcohol. With either raw or cooked fruit, spices such as cinnamon, ginger, star anise or vanilla can be added for extra flavor. Seal the jars tightly; as long as the fruits are kept covered by the alcohol, they should keep for about a year.

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06:57:20 on 10/26/08 by Webmaster - Cooking Guide -