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When you preserve fruit in alcohol, do you refrigerate it?

I'm having trouble finding a definite answer to this. The last few summers, I've put small amounts of fruit in glass canning jars, covered them completely in alcohol, screwed the lids down very tight and put them in the back of a dark cool(ish) cupboard. I make things with the fruit and I use the fruit-infused spirits in cocktails. I always let the jars sit undisturbed at least 4-6 weeks before opening, then usually use them up within 3-4 weeks once I do. I give them a little shake to settle the fruit about once a week. I've never gotten sick from this.

Now I'm getting a little paranoid about food safety, mainly because this year I'm going to give some of my boozy fruit as gifts. Is it necessary to refrigerate these jars as they do their alcoholic thing? Some of the instructions for this on the internet say to refrigerate, some don't mention it. The jars haven't been canned in a water bath or pressure canner and the lids are just screwed down tight, not officially sealed with the "pop." I always sterilize the jars in the dishwasher or boil them in water first. I always cover the fruit completely with alcohol.

asked by beyondcelery almost 3 years ago
5 answers 9096 views
Uruguay2010_61
added almost 3 years ago

Mum use to preserve fruit in rum & sugar in a very large pottery crock with just a the crock lid on top, in the cellar for over a year when we were kids. She did top up with fresh rum and sugar now and then. By the following year, it was some of the best tasting topping for "puddin" I have ever had. No one got sick, but I always swear I got a little tipsy.

5.15.11_coconut_macaroons_best_sm
added almost 3 years ago

Thanks! I've only been using straight alcohol, but it's good to know that I can at least add sugar with the alcohol and fruit and have it be shelf-stable.

Junechamp
ChefJune

June is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added almost 3 years ago

I don't refrigerate mine, and have never had a problem.

5.15.11_coconut_macaroons_best_sm
added almost 3 years ago

Thanks, ChefJune! I'll stop worrying about it. =)

Chris_in_oslo
Greenstuff

Chris is a trusted source on General Cooking

added almost 3 years ago

Ditto. There are many, many old recipes for preserving fruit in alcohol, and relatively few of them suggest canning. If you want to err on the side of caution, which I tend to do, first soak the fruit in a high-alcohol solution for a few weeks and use a high alcohol-to-fruit ratio. Only after that soak, add sugar plus water, most likely a form of a simple syrup, and figure on keeping it for a reasonably long time--months to years. This is my standard procedure for fruit liqueurs and it's generally applicable to the fruits as well as the liquid. After those steps, do as much as you can to keep your concoction in a dark, cool place, and recognize that quality may change. Sometimes for the better (really!), but always be prepared to discard a batch if you have any qualms (I never have).