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).

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