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Brandied Fruit Melange

about 10 quarts (about 10 liters) prepared fresh fruits: hulled
strawberries; pitted cherries; whole raspberries; peeled, pitted
and sliced apricots and peaches; whole blueberries; pitted plums;
and peeled, cored and sliced pears
about 10 quarts (about 10 liters) sugar
about 2 1/2 quarts (about 2 1/2 liters) brandy

Brandy base
2 cups (1/2 liter) brandy
1 1/2 quarts (1 1/2 liters) firm, ripe strawberries, hulled
6 cups (1 1/2 liters) sugar
2 cups (1/2 liter) kirsch
2 cups (1/2 liter) sherry
2 cinnamon sticks
1 tablespoon (15 ml) chopped fresh ginger
1 tablespoon (15 ml) whole cloves
1 tablespoon (15 ml) whole allspice
1 tablespoon (15 ml) grated lemon peel
1 tablespoon (15 ml) grated orange peel

For the brandy base, crush the strawberries and simmer them in
their own juice until they are tender, about five minutes. Let
the berries drip in a jelly bag; discard the pulp. Bring the
strawberry juice to a boil, add the sugar and stir until it dissolves.
Cool the syrup. Put the brandy, kirsch, sherry, spices and grated
lemon and orange peels into a 4 gallon (16 liter) crock. Add the
strawberry syrup to the other ingredients in the crock. Let the
mixture stand for at least one week.

As fruits are available, add equal quantities of fresh fruits and
sugar, stirring after each addition. Never add more than 2 quarts
(2 liters) of sugared fruit at one time. Two or three kinds of
fruit may be added at the same time. For each 2 quarts of sugared
fruit, add 2 cups (1/2 liter) of brandy. More spices also may be
added. Continue this process until the crock is filled. Put the
cover on the crock and tie a cloth over it. Let it stand without
disturbing it for two or three months.


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