It started with the two pounds of Georgia kumquats from my grandfather's backyard sitting in my freezer. I don't have a big freezer, so it wasn't like they were out of sight, out of mind.
Then there was that great price I saw for top-of-the-season peaches at Whole Foods Market. I bought too many.
Finally, a gift basket of apples and pears arrived.
The result: We had more fruit on hand than we were ever going to eat. Well, maybe not "ever."
If all that fruit sat till we got around to eating it, surely it was all going to go bad. So I looked into ways of different ways of working with it — and, dare say, improving its flavor.
A little online research suggested the fruit can be preserved in alcohol. Any booze will do, as long as the liquid is at least 80 proof: strong enough to kill any bacteria. I bought a six-pack of 1 1/2-gallon, wide-mouth canning jars, two industrial-size bottles of cheap brandy and some gin. I sterilized the jars and added the fruit.
For the apples, pears and peaches, I added 1/2 cup of sugar and then topped the jars off with the brandy. For the kumquats, I topped off with gin. I’m keeping them on a bookshelf in the dining room. They’re nice to look at, as you can see. But soon I’ll be transferring them to a cool, dark place.
I plan to harvest the boozy fruit in late November. I'm looking forward to experimenting with the infused brandy and gin in cocktails. The fruit should make interesting pies and cobblers. Or cocktail garnishes. Or, now that I have all that room in the freezer, maybe ice cream.
Bowers is an IT developer for the news division of The Washington Post. What creative things are you doing with fruit this summer? We’d like to hear in the comments below.