The sugar has yet to dissolve, but you get the idea...
OK, you know how when someone has a church wedding, the priest or minister or whoever might say 'Speak now or forever hold your peace'? Well, in essence, what I am saying to you now is, 'Make this now, or forever be without' (until next year at least), because it's literally your last chance to get domestically grown Summer fruits and berries, and it would be pointless to make this with those long-haul imports that taste of acidulated water.
So, ja, everybody, Ich habe ein Rumtopf gemacht.
I'm going to stop right there, because I haven't really spoken German since I was at school, and that was half my lifetime ago. But I am going to tell you what a Rumtopf is, because it's going to rock your world. Knock your socks off. Blow you away.
It's a German preserve. Rather than bottle their excess fruit, or make a jam out of them, those clever deutsche Volk steep them in sweetened rum (in a pot - the Rumtopf) to enjoy in Winter time. At Christmas, say. Or in January when the New Year blues get to you and all you want to do is kill yourself. Or is that just me?
Upon learning about this marvellous practice, I had but one thought:
What. A. Fantastic. Idea. Boozy blueberries to fight the blues!
I'll be honest: I have myself already done something a little similar before with red berries and Cointreau (quite possibly the most fashionably underrated of all the liqueur cabinet dollies), but never on this scale, and I do know people will say that this is just fancied up sloe gin, but... I...
Truly - this excites me.
If you too are excited by the thought of making 'liqueur pickles', gather together a jar, rum, granulated sugar and as many different fruits as you can muster. Mr. Other P and I got a deal on raspberries, strawberries, blackberries and blueberries at the market; the cherries were expensive and therefore not a bargain as such, but I thought they would taste good. You could also use plums, apricots, peaches, nectarines or pears. In short: whatever you fancy.
Here's what you do. Layer the fruit - Mr. Other P started with strawberries as you can see - in the jar, weighing as you go. Top each layer with half the fruit's weight of granulated sugar. I think this was something like 180g of strawberries, so 90g of sugar went in the jar next.
After that, keep layering the fruits and adding sugar until the jar is full. Cover everything with rum, and if the fruit floats (our blackberries refused, point blank, to stay submerged. Selfish little gits.), use a small saucer or such like to weigh it down. We used a small ceramic soy sauce dish, though you can't see it in the photo.
Seal the jar, stash away in the cupboard and start counting the days until Christmas.
Note: We used really, really cheap rum. Have no shame. We don't. Also, we had leftover fruit and rum so decided to make small jam jar Rumtopfs as well. They are very cute and would make great presents, so don't feel you have to make a great big one if you'd rather not.