My beloved dad … Stanley Stein’s Rumtopf Tips
A Rumtopf (Rum Pot in English) is a large covered ceramic jar filled with aged fruits, rum and sugar.
In Germany, the idea of the rumtopf is after three seasons of adding seasonal fruit, by Christmas you have created a sweet, fruity, boozy concoction.
It is made with four parts seasonal fruit to one-part sugar.
Seasonal fruit like plums, apricots, berries, strawberry, raspberry and cherry, mixed with high-strength rum, often Stroh’s.
Or a good choice – organic aged amber rum, and the over proof rum should be of only 100-110 proof (50-55% alcohol by volume), not commonly available at retail in all regions, but can be prepared by blending more common commercially available 151 proof and 80 proof rums.
You do not require an actual rumtopf, any large ceramic (lead-free) canister or glass jar will do.
1. Dump fruit and sugar into your rumtopf jar. It must be a clean jar that can seal airtight, like a glass 2 litre jar, if you do not have the eponymous rum pot. A small amount of spices or other flavourings can be added as well, such as cinnamon sticks, whole allspice, or citrus peels.
2. Alcohol such as rum, wine, or brandy can be used to encourage fermentation. Cover everything with the alcohol (rum).
You do not need to fill the jar but make sure fruit is fully submerged. Traditionally, different kinds of ripe fruit from the garden are added to it over the months as they come in season.
3. Label bottle and let sit at room temperature, out of direct light, in a cool and dark place for 4-6 months, depending on temperature.
Taste test: Close your eyes and take in the aroma. Take a sip of. Rumtopf and see the vibrant colour in your glass. Close your eyes and take another sip as you drink in the liqueur, you may find yourself dreaming of munching bratwurst sausages and sauerkraut, washed down with frothy lagers in Cinderella-esque castles.
Dad has left his mulberry, peach and plum Rumtoph out for 12 months – told me it was good served for dessert over campfire bread pudding on winter fishing trips.
Stanley Stein’s Rumtopf Tips:
• Some fruits get very discoloured and sometimes can get mushy.
But they are all safe to eat because of the alcohol. The only time it would not be safe is if you diluted the alcohol with water and had mould growing.
• If you follow the recipe idea, (without dilution) your fruit is preserved safely. Some recipes make syrup first with the sugar, like in making Limoncello – not wise according to dad. The syrup making happens after the alcohol fermentation process.
• Everyone must decide what fruits they like in a rumtopf.
For example, many people like to add strawberries.
Being soft they absorb the rum and go soft, dark and mushy.
Cherries are a good choice.
Best not to use watermelon, honeydew or rockmelon (too watery), blackberries (too seedy), bananas (too soft) or citrus (too acidic).
Some people avoid dark fruits like blueberries because they will discolour the lighter fruits in the mixture, however, dad feels the discoloration is worth the added flavour.
• If you ever make rumtopf with a fruit and when you taste the fruit you decide that you do not care for it, do not toss!
You can strain out the fruit and drink the liqueur!
It is all perfectly safe to eat and drink.
The alcohol and sugar preserve everything.
You could even strain out the fruit you do not like and then add a different fruit to flavour the alcohol a different way.
Just do not throw away the alcohol, an easy fix to adjust the flavour with other fruit.
In loving memory
29th July 1934 – 27th December 2020
A golden heart stopped beating, hard working hands at rest.
God broke our hearts to prove to us,
He only takes the best.
In Loving Memory of Margaret ‘Peggy” Boyce
29th July 1934 – 15th January 2021
Beautiful Twins – together RIP
In life we loved you both dearly
In death we love you still
In our hearts you hold a place
No one else can ever fill
It broke our hearts to lose you
But you didn’t go alone
Part of us went with you
The day God took you both home.