Rumtopf (Brandied fruits with sour cherries)
The ingredients listed here will fill a 2-gallon crock; for easy holiday gifting, use 10 24-ounce Mason jars. Use fruits as they come in season—melons and peaches are NOT recommended because they may soften and discolor.
- 2 cups each, 8 to 12 different ripe and unblemished fruits, prepared and added as they come into season. Examples:
- apples (cored, sliced)
- apricots (pitted, sliced)
- blueberries (pierced)
- cherries, pref. dark sours (pitted)
- currants, red and black (pierced)
- pears (cored, sliced)
- plums (pitted, sliced)
- strawberries (hulled)
- 1 cup sugar for every 2 cups of fruit used
- 2 liters organic dark rum or brandy, at least 80 proof
Note: You may want to include more than 2 cups of strawberries and/or cherries—if you do, be sure to increase the amount of sugar proportionately as well (1 cup sugar per 2 cups fruit).
- When a fruit comes into season, collect, wash and prepare the fruit as specified above.
- Place prepared fruit in a bowl and toss gently with 1 cup sugar for every 2 cups of fruit. Allow fruit/sugar to macerate at room temperature 30 minutes, preferably overnight.
- Add the fruit/sugar and any juices to the crock or jars.
- Add enough rum or brandy to cover the fruit. Place a small plate, glass lid or large marbles atop the fruit to keep it submerged in the liquid.
- Cover the crock or jars and place in a quiet, cool place.
- As the next fruit comes into season, repeat the process. (Remember: Before adding another layer of fruit to the crock or jars, remove the weight holding the previous fruit under the liquid, add more rum or brandy to cover all the fruit and be sure the fruit stays submerged.)
- After the last fruits are added, let the rumtopf sit for another month or two. The mixture can last a year or more.
To serve: The fruit and liquid can be mixed with spirits or beer or used as a dessert topping.
Adapted from a recipe published in Organic Gardening, October 2013