Deep in the Heart of Summer

Here we are in the heart of summer.

Though the countryside is still very lush and fecund, the wild plants have mostly stopped flowering and are turning their energies inward to concentrate on making fruits and seeds.  The apple trees in the orchard near my bus stop are heavy with ripening apples.

The brambles in the hedgerows are shaking off their petals and blackberries are beginning to swell.

Yesterday I made Rumtopf.  Just take summer fruits, sugar and rum or brandy, put them in a jar and wait until autumn.

Ideal fruits to use are:

  • Pineapple (remove rind & core and cut in large cubes)
  • Cherries (any variety, pitted)
  • Apricots (halves, pitted)
  • Nectarines (halves, pitted)
  • Peaches (remove pits and cut in halves, quarters, or slices)
  • Pears (cored, peeled & sliced)
  • Plums (remove seed and half or quarter)
  • Grapes (sweet seedless red or green grapes are ideal)
  • Strawberries (don’t wash, just remove stem & leaves).  Strawberries will lose their red color.
  • Raspberries (don’t wash). Raspberries will lose some of their red color.
  • Red currants (removed from stem)

Prepare the fruit.  Put it in a bowl with a half the amount of sugar, eg 3 lbs fruit and 1.5 lbs sugar.  Let it stand for an hour.  Then put the fruit into a glass or crockery container.  Add liquor until the fruit is covered by about ½ inch.  It will float to the top of the liquid, so should be weighed down with a saucer or small dish.  You can fill up the container in one go, or add to it over several weeks.  Just make sure it is topped up with alcohol. Then, wait for about 3 months.  In the autumn and wintertime, you’ll have some delicious summer fruits steeped in a brandy (or rum) syrup to enjoy and bring some of the warmth of summer into your life.


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