Preserving Fruit in Alcohol

Last week I came home from eastern Washington with a small handful of Greengage plums. I love love love Greengage plums, as they have a super subtle sweetness that is smooth and almost flower-y. Because I had so few, I decided to preserve them in spirits. Covering them with brandy, I immediately knew that come December, I would strain the plums out and use them in a boozy upside down gingerbread cake. Ah, the life of a foodie – I’m not thinking about my next meal, but I am already thinking about a dessert I’ll make in the middle of winter!

Preserving fruit in alcohol is quite easy and produces two delicious outcomes – boozy fruit & infused spirits. Quite simply, I fill a clean glass jar with fruit, submerge completely in alcohol, add a few spoons of sugar, cover & shake. The recipe is truly that easy, which makes this preservation method a nice low bar of entry for anyone experimenting with preservation for the first time. The high alcohol content acts as a preservative, thereby minimizing spoilage. The amount of sugar depends on the fruit and your personal taste preference. I tend to stay on the less sweet side of things, but most stone fruits will taste better with a bit more sugar.

Shake your jars gently every couple of days. I keep my steeping fruits in a dark cupboard and shake them whenever I see them and that has always worked well. After 3 to 4 weeks, I move the jar to the fridge, where the low temperature will further retard deterioration and where they will keep for one million years. (Ok, just kidding. But they will keep for a very long time.) The longer the fruit sits, the further they will break down, so try and use the fruit within three months time.

Greengage Plums in Brandy

2 handfuls small plums
1 cup brandy
2 tablespoons sugar

Add all ingredients to a clean glass jar.Add more brandy to the jar, if necessary, to fully submerge the plums. Cover with lid and shake gently until sugar dissolves. Store in a dark cupboard for 3 to 4 weeks, shaking occasionally. After four weeks, move to refrigerator and use within three months.