I’ve been trying to do research looking at how foods, particularly fruits and vegetables were put up for long term storage in europe. From what I can tell, fruit storage entails a lot of alcohol and/or sugar. We don’t drink much, but a little syrupy, fruity nip on a cold winter day sounds fairly nice. I thought I’d try a variety of different techniques to see which work well and give good results. Perhaps we’ll have a winter solstice tasting party.
Todays produce rescue was small but tasty: strawberries, raspberries, and some melon for the chickens. We have a lot of strawberry jam so I decided to use the strawberries to make a Strawberry Ratafia. The sliced berries (about 2 cups) were combined with 1/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup vodka, about 1/2 bottle of red wine and almost a bottle of Riesling. This will rest in the refrigerator for 4-5 weeks before being strained.
I also started a couple of Rumtopf in small cheese crocks. I sliced a cup or so of strawberries from the garden and added them to the bottom of the crock. Then I added half of the weight of the berries in sugar and topped it off with dark rum to cover. I added a plastic plate to keep the berries under the liquor and will be adding fruit periodically as it ripens. From what I’ve read, this will be ready to top ice cream with at Christmas time.
*this evening I also added about 1/2 raspberries with sugar to each crock