I started writing this post the second week in May, and now we are into June the time when the Strawberry season starts and time to get the Rumptopfs on the go as well as some mini ones for use for the pantry shelf or for packaging into hampers for Christmas pressies. To me although other countries grow Strawberries the taste of proper English Strawberries is unbeatable. I preserve them in whatever way I can even popping them into the freezer. Good for making smoothies, ice cream and popping into pancakes. I love all the naughty things when it comes to food.
With this in mind I have decided to bring the Rumptopfs out but out of the way of the cats. They broke two that I had last year by getting where they shouldn't and one quick flip of their backsides and the Rumptopfs were no more. To say I was not pleased is an understatement as one of them was an original Rumptopf that my brother had bought me back from Germany as he was based there for about 10 years or so. However I have replaced them and I intend to get a couple of more as well.
[I don't only use the Rumptopf pots for Rumptopf but also use it for making home made mincemeat by the traditional fermentation method first introduced to me by my Internet friend Bovey Belle. Tis a really good recipe and has a bit of this and a bit of that in it. You add bits when you have them So it works along similar lines to a Rumptopf as you add the fruit, sugar and rum in layers as well. Mincemeat is a good way of using up older dried fruit without wasting it.]
Anyway I digress back to the Rumptopf if you make them then come Christmas you have a really naughty alcoholic fruit salad but you can also drain the syrup off (the alcoholic syrup) and use it as a liqeuer. However the trick is you do not leave any of the fruit exposed of its spirit. Ideally you use a small saucer to weight it down but I also use a greaseproof style cartouche to keep the fruit submerged. In effect its a good idea to eat the fruit up first and serve this with ice cream or cream very simply and then decant the liquid afterwards and use it as a homemade liqueur/ It is quite punchy and so perhaps not one for the kidlets. I remember the first time I served it to my parents they had never had it before and were quite taken with it. It was served after Christmas tea/supper as a finale in little glass bowls so that you could see the glorious rich colour.
If you have never made Rumptopf before it is well worth it. Shop around though and get the best price you can on the Rum (and on the fruit)as you will end up using more than you anticipated.
I don't only use Rumptopf stone crocks for this I also have some supersized glass jars that on occasion have been used with sealable lids. However one thing I was taught to do if using glass was to cover the outside of the jar with brown paper to preserve the colour of the fruit. Even with other dark coloured preserves you should do this to preserve the colour and in turn eatability of the preserve. We eat with our eyes first and therefore you want it to look as good as possible.
The only thing you have to remember with this kind of preserve is that the outlay is a little pricier than that you do have compared to say other preserves because of the spirit and the prices of it these days. However I have never seen proper Rumptopf for sale and if it is then it is likely to be pricy. When you consider that M & amp; S sell in the run up to Christmas preserved fruits like peaches in brandy and that these small jars are nearly £10 a pot they are getting quite a return on this but if you do it yourself you will get more by way of pots of fruits than just the one jar.
There is an English version of this called "Hodgkin" and also a French version but using Brandy often referred to as Folie au Fall Fruits or Batchelors Brandy and uses white fruits rather than the red fruits including small apples, grapes, peaches and pears.
I will post recipes for these so that you can take your pick but as I am about to start my Rumptopfs for this year so will take photos so that you can see how it is done or not done as the case may be.
Catch you later.
Catch you later