10 Ways to Keep Farm Fresh Fruits and Vegetables for the Winter Months

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Glasses of Wine (Photo by Steve Lupton/Corbis via Getty Images)

Brandy, Wine and Cider

Let’s end on a high note and talk about how to use farm-fresh fruits to make your own adult beverages at home. There are two ways to go about it: distilling from scratch or using alcohol as a starter. Sure, making alcoholic beverages from fruit isn’t exactly food preservation, it will be a potent reminder of warmer times (not to mention warmer tummies) when you serve it up at your new years bash.

Wine is fermented juice. Brandy is distilled wine. So if you want to make brandy from scratch, you need to make wine from scratch first. I’d rather take the shortcut and start with store-bought alcohol. I found this method in my oldest cookbook, the now-out-of-print Culinary Arts Institute Encyclopedic Cookbook, originally printed in 1948. If you’re making fruit wine, start with a white wine. Juice and strain the fruit, and mix the juice with your wine or brandy. Let the wine steep for 6 days, strain it, and there’s your wine. For brandy, let it steep with the fruit for 6 weeks, strain and you just made brandy.

Cider is basically just apple wine. (So if you distill cider you also get brandy.)  The UK has been drinking cider for ages, but it’s just recently gaining popularity in the US, with a whole bushel of brands available to buy at the store. Here’s a primer on making cider from scratch from some knowledgeable Brits. If you’re into home brewing, this one will really impress the guests at Thanksgiving.

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Do you have any crafty tips for keeping fruits and veg good through the cold months? Sound off in the comments.