Well, after months of patiently keeping an eye on Ebay for just the right bargain to come along I finally acquired a Rumtopf Jar! “But what is Rumtopf?!” I hear you cry…well ‘Rumtopf’ literally translated from German means ‘Rum Pot’ and is supposedly an ancient German method for preserving local seasonal fruits. The idea is, that as each fruit comes into season, you add it to your jar with a good heap of sugar and cover with rum, and then every month as other fruits come into season, you repeat until the jar is full. In theory the contents should be ready by Christmas!
I am a little late getting started owing mostly, as I mentioned, to waiting for a proper Rumtopf to appear at a reasonable price on EBay but of course a decent size kilner jar could just as easily be used.
Start your Rumtopf as soon as the first fruits come into season (in my area that’s usually Strawberries). Wash your Rumtopf in hot soapy water and dry thoroughly. Add a pound of your first fruit (cut into bite size pieces if necessary) and half a pound of sugar (I think rich brown sugar would be good!). Cover the first layer of fruit with unflavoured dark rum, enough to have an inch extra over the fruit. Then after a few weeks (six ideally) repeat the process with the next seasonal fruit (Cherries and Raspberries for example) and keep going in the same way throughout the year with Peaches, Plums, Blackberries, Gooseberries, Pears, Apples…the list is virtually endless!
Most fruit can be used with the exception of Bananas, Melon and Citrus fruits and of course you can fill your Rumtopf with just one fruit exclusively all in one go remembering to ensure you have half a pound of sugar per pound of fruit and leave for at least six weeks.
When your Rumtopf is done, the possibilities are endless. Try warming the fruit and syrup and serving over cold ice cream, in pancakes or strain the liquid off as part of a nice warm hot toddy. The most important thing is to enjoy and as always offer a little back to the land that made it all possible!