1940s Recipes + Menus

Imprisoned Fruit

The Way We Cooked: Vintage Gourmet

October 1942

Look over your tree carefully in the springtime, when the blossoms are gone and the fruit is just beginning to form. Choose a few choice specimens, each at the end of a branch, and insert the branch gently into the neck of a large bottle, until the fruit is well inside. The next job is to support the bottle so that it stays in place in the tree. This may be done with ropes, if the tree is large enough, or it may be necessary to build up wooden supports to hold the bottle. Our dainty little candlestick fruit trees were crisscrossed with scaffolding during the process. It certainly doesnt beautify your fuit tree for a season, but the result is worth the temporary blemish. Once your pear or apple or peach is comfortably installed inside the bottle and allowed to breathe through the neck, which must always be kept open, it begins to prosper in spectacular fashion, or else to languish and shrivel up. The intensified sunshine which comes into the bottle and the forced heat inside both stimulate the fruit to prodigious growth. It begins to outgrow its brothers on the outside, and finally dwarfs them. A perfectly Gargantuan piece of fruit is the result when it is ripe and ready to be disengaged from the stem. Rinse the bottle carefully and fill immediately with good brandy, Armagnac, or Apple brandy, and allow to stand for a few weeks. Your fruit becomes beautifully preserved, taking on a deep golden color. It will stay preserved for years, too, if the liquid is kept at a level high enough to keep it submerged.

This exclusive recipe is pulled directly from Gourmet's archive. It has not been re-tested by our food editors since it was published in the magazine, but it's a pretty good indication of the kinds of things we once cooked—and ate—with great pleasure.

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