For Mother’s Day we gifted my Mother-In-Law the book Fermented by Charlotte Pike. It has all kinds of neat recipes for fermenting foods. We love sourdough, so we thought this would be fun to try. In flipping through the first two things that caught our attention were the Rumtopf and Yogurt. The yogurt requires more tools and preparation and we already had a leftover bag of Organic Cane Sugar leftover from another project, so we opted to start with the Rumtopf.

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According to Wikipedia, Rumtopf “literally means rum pot, is a German and Danish dessert, traditionally eaten around Christmas. Once a popular traditional dessert, Rumtopf has become rather unfashionable in recent years”. Essentially people used to have a large Rumtopf pot and would add fruit (with rum and sugar) as it became available in the spring and summer. These would be left in a cool dark spot and were ready to eat in the winter.

The idea of a large open pot of fermenting fruit seemed quite unappealing to me. Also we are now able to get most types of fruit whenever we want. This combination has led to a change in how we prepare Rumtopf. However it is still a very simple recipe.

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Layer fruit inside a sterilized jar (that has a cover). Pour in the sugar and rum. You must make sure all of the fruit is fully submerged. Fasten the lid and shake gently to distribute the sugar. Set aside for at least 6 weeks.

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The recipe suggests using the following fruits: strawberries, apricots, cherries, blackberries, and red- and blackcurrants. We planned to use strawberries, peaches, cherries, blackberries, and blueberries. The recipe calls for waiting at least 6 weeks to eat the Rumtopf and that it would be better after 2-3 months. Our waiting time for this batch is scheduled to end at the Fourth of July. So we decided to make a red and blue batch and used strawberries, cherries, blackberries, and blueberries.

Layering the fruit into the jars went quickly. We did follow the directions about making sure to not include any bruised fruit. We did not however follow the recommendation to use only organic fruit. Our theory was that the alcohol would kill anything on the fruit.

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The next step was to pour in the sugar and rum. The recipe calls for 1/2 Cup of Organic Cane Sugar for each 1 Cup of Fruit. Our jars each fit four cups of fruit, so we needed two cups of sugar in each. This was where we ran into some issues. The photo in the book only showed a jar once it was filled with fruit and starting to have sugar added. We consulted with a few YouTube videos.

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When we started trying to add the sugar we had a lot of trouble getting it to fit. We may have packed the jars with too much fruit. Eventually we were able to get the proper amount of sugar into the jars by pouring it in a small amount, followed by some rum and shaking the jars until the sugar moved down. The recipe called for dark rum, we opted for Myers’s Original Dark rum.

Based on the photo in the book, we were not sure how these should look. Our jars had sugar left at the bottom which would not mix in. From what we have saw in the videos we watched, this is normal.

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We did notice that over the course of the first day the amount of sugar in the bottom decreased, but didn’t go away. The recipe called for dark rum, but the recipes we found online after said that any 80 proof alcohol will work. The dark rum and the darker sugar both masked the colors in the jar. I believe that in the future if we are trying for specific colors we will try a clear alcohol and white sugar.

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The recipe called for dark rum, but the recipes we found online after said that any 80 proof alcohol will work. The dark rum and the darker sugar both masked the colors in the jar. I believe that in the future if we are trying for specific colors we will try a clear alcohol and white sugar.

We are looking forward to tasting these in about 6 weeks!

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