What I did with my apple harvest

Harvest Festival and Mabon are still a way off, but the harvest season in general has started and the tree in the garden is already dropping ripe apples onto the patio, so today I made apple rumtopf.

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My two two-litre Kilner jars of maturing rumtopf – on the left the ‘smooth’ version made of apple pieces, on the right the ‘rough’ one made of peel, core, and pips.

Rumtopf is dead easy to make – add an equal weight of granulated white sugar to whatever it is you want the flavour to be, pour in enough of the cheapest supermarket own-brand white rum you can find to cover the sugar and flavour ingredient, leave for a minimum of six weeks, strain, and drink (in moderation). You can also strain and leave it to mature for as long as you’d like – this stuff lasts for years.

I know that traditionally rumtopf refers to the rum-and-sugar infused fruit which is eaten as a dessert, but I first heard the word used in relation to the sweet flavoured rum, used as a drink and considered the end product. My friend Kizzy, she of the luck and abundance ritual, makes many, many flavours of rumtopf, including various berries, apple and ginger, sour apple, coffee, mixed spice, lemon, mint, chocolate etc., and it was under the influence of her and her rumtopf collection that I decided to have a go at making my own. I also decided to experiment, and see if there was any taste difference between a batch made of pure apple bits, and one made of everything else (excluding stalk).

A couple of words of warning if you’re thinking of making or drinking rumtopf: one, this stuff is very sweet and syrupy so avoid if you’re diabetic, and two, this stuff is very alcoholic but doesn’t taste it, so shot- and sherry-glasses are recommended drinking vessels.

EDIT: After a couple of months I was chatting to Kizzy about my rumtopf and told her that it wasn’t as syrupy as hers is, even though pretty much all the sugar had been absorbed. Turns out that I’d added too much rum – I’d used the entire bottle as opposed to the rum level being a finger’s width above the sugar and fruit, rectified by adding more fruit with half its weight in sugar. She also gave me a tip which is to leave the fruit and sugar for about an hour before adding the rum, as the sugar will draw out more of the juice from the fruit (presuming you’re making a fruit rumtopf that is).

New books

I’m slowly getting the necessary work done on my flat so I can move in, which I’m really looking forward to – it means I’ll get the chance to expand on and openly practice my spiritual path, as well as finally being fully independent. While I don’t really hide my tools and my altar is a permanent feature of my bedroom, I tend to wait until the house is empty before meditating, using my rosaries, or casting a circle, to make sure I’m not disturbed. Partly so I don’t break my concentration and partly so I don’t have to explain what I’m doing.

So in the meantime I’m taking a leaf out of Marietta’s book and spending the time between work and decorating to do more studying. I recently went on a book-buying spree, ending up with a mix of Christian and Pagan books. I’ll be posting more about each one as I read it, and not all of them have arrived yet, but my latest aquisitions are:

Circle, Coven, and Grove by Deborah Blake
Wicca: A Year and a Day by Timothy Roderick
How to be a Bad Christian … And a Better Human Being by Dave Tomlinson
Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus: A Devout Muslim Encounters Christianity by Nabeel Quereshi
Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis
Being Christian: Baptism, Bible, Eucharist, Prayer by Rowan Williams
Solitary Wicca for Life: A Complete Guide to Mastering the Craft on Your Own by Arin Murphy-Hiscock
Pagan Paths: A Guide to Wicca, Druidry, Asatru, Shamanism and Other Pagan Practices by Peter Jennings
We Make the Road by Walking: A Year-Long Quest for Spiritual Formation, Reorientation and Activation by Brian D. McLaren

A couple of them I bought on recommendation, the rest I chose after browsing the ‘you might like these other books’ bit at the bottom of Waterstones and Amazon pages. Most of the Christian books are Anglican or Non-Conformist as opposed to Catholic, in the same way that a fair few of the Pagan books are Wiccan-based. As I’ve said elsewhere, my beliefs are mostly Christian, and my Methodist religious upbringing means I lean more towards Protestant theology than Roman Catholic, which influenced my choice of books. And although I define myself as Christo-Pagan, a lot of the Pagan practices that I incorporate into my religion are influenced by Wicca, as when I first started researching Paganism I was using the internet, and most of the information I found there during my early searches was either Wiccan or Wiccan-influenced, again influencing my choice of books.

Here’s to many happy hours of reading!