I’ve wanted to do this for years, and finally, amidst the frenzied activities of pre-Shavuos cheesecake baking, I bought a crock and and a flat of strawberries to start a rumpot. The push to make one actually came from a local farm which reminds me daily through social media, that it is strawberry picking season. But it is 25 minutes away and the hours are 9-3 and I just can’t seem to get there during these busy work days.
A rumpot (or rumtopf) is a crock which is used to preserve summer’s fruit and berries in a delicious way so you have them throughout the year as an accent to desserts such as compote, pound cake, ice cream, and cheesecake. The recipe for sour cherries which I’ve made with success for several years now, preserves the cherries in (95%) alcohol, while the berries in the rumpot are preserved in light rum. The idea of adding fruit as you go, and making your own mix of favorite fruit and berries is very exciting, because there’s somewhat of a surprise element in that you never know how the final mix will turn out.
To start your rumpot, you will take any fruit or berry which is ripe to eat (start with one kind), and toss it in an equal weight of sugar. I am starting my rumpot with strawberries. After washing them (for bugs) and taking off the green tops, I weighed the fruit and then weighed an equal amount of sugar, and tossed it with the fruit. Then I put it in the crock and covered the fruit with light rum. It is important to put a plate or other weight on the fruit & close the lid tightly as rum can evaporate and it is imperative that all the fruit be submerged at all times. As the fruits and berries of summer ripen and come into season, you can add them to the rumpot in the same way – by tossing with an equal weight of sugar, adding them to the crock and adding rum to cover.
After making your additions, keep the crock in a cool, dark place until October or November. Enjoy ladeling the fruit over desserts or drinking the delicious liquor of the fruits of your labor.