What is rumtopf?
And the planning begins …
It’s the evening of April 25, which can only mean one thing: it’s officially less than eight months to Christmas. Being the fanatically obsessed Christmas zealot that I am, I like to start planning my gift theme(s) early.
So I’m sitting on the couch sipping some rum on the rocks and it hits me – rumtopf! What better concoction to capture the changing seasons?
What is rumtopf? The idea is this: Start with the very best, first-of-the-season fruit (admittedly, I skip rhubarb and start with strawberries), immerse them in rum and sugar in a large crock and carry on with this throughout the year, adding the up-coming seasonal fruit along with more rum and more sugar. Keep at it until the last of the seasonal fruit, namely pears and apples, are added.
Traditionally rumtopf is consumed during the holiday season, the dark and viscous liquor making a buxom tipple, while the drunken fruit makes a bowl of vanilla ice cream the stuff of dreams … tipsy dreams.
In theory, if done properly (read: keep your crock and any tools clean), you can preserve your fruit indefinitely. It’s history in the making – capturing the essence of a moment in time, with one season’s strawberries melding with another season’s pears – that’s pretty special.
This year, I thought I’d document the process and post it here to share. I’ll keep my eye out for the first local strawberries and then it’s game on. Rumtopf makes an extremely thoughtful and decadent gift. Pair it with a homemade fruit cake or other delightful nosh and you’ve got a brilliant gift that features the very best of our valley, made lovingly by you.
This is more of a method that recipe – the only thing holding you back is the size of your crock! The basic ratio is two parts fruit to one part sugar with enough rum to fully submerge.
5 lbs fruit
2.5 lbs sugar (I didn’t say it was calorie free!)
1 x 750 ml bottle dark rum (not spiced)
Sanitize a 5-gallon ceramic crock (or large glass jar in a pinch).
Combine all ingredients in the crock, stirring well until the sugar dissolves. Cover the mixture with a piece of plastic wrap, placing it directly on top of the mixture and up the sides of the crock. Place a plate on top to weigh the fruit down.
Cover the whole thing and place in a cool, dark place, uncovering only as you make each addition.
If any mold forms on the plate or plastic wrap during the process, remove and replace with fresh plastic. If stored properly, rumtopf will keep for as long as you keep the fruit, rum and sugar flowing!