There are heaps of fruit and vegetables all over the house! My dad and my granddad just keep on bringing bagfuls in every day! They’ve both worked since the spring and the allotment is paying back their hard labor well. Tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, courgettes…we are struggling to cook and eat them all! It’s coming to a point most have to be preserved for the winter.
Today they came back with a load of just picked plums. Lovely, sweet, tangy little things. “Perfect for Rakia!” my dad says, looking down at them… “No way, step away from the plums! You have acre’s of grapes ripening, make your Rakia from them!” I shout while inching the heavy bucket away with both hands…”I’m making a compote outa these!”
Rakia – a high volume alcohol drink – is traditionally made by almost every household in Bulgaria and my family is no different. Grapes are the usual suspect, but any other fleshy fruit – like plums, peaches, apricots, apples etc can be used. As long as you have sugar, you can ferment anything and turn it into alcohol. From the allotment, we produce about 100 liters grape Rakia every autumn. It gets drunk to the last drop by the end of Summer, so the new batch is very impatiently awaited! Looks like they’ve been bad this year and drunk the lot sooner, if my plums are looking so tempting….
Finding a quiet corner for myself, compote production begins by washing the plums in cold water and letting them soak for a few minutes.
Then a couple of handfuls fill each readily washed and prepared jar. There’s no need fro prior sterilizing as a quick boil at the end takes care of preserving.
My daughter insist on helping…
Half a cup of caster sugar goes in each jar
And to finish – cold water to just bellow the brink.
A lid goes on every jar
And now I wait on a strong helping hand to seal them tight…
What find is even better – a trio of helpers! Come on grandpa!!
After such great involvement, all there’s left to do is put the closed jars in a large pot full of water and bring to boil
Out of the water 5 minutes later, bum up! Now we all have to patiently wait for at least 24 hrs to start eating them
Preserved like that, the compote will last up to 3 years (but will most likely be eaten withing 3 weeks, so let’s not worry about that, shall we…;-) )
Piccalilli next, fortunately no one wants to make Rakia out of courgettes and cauliflower! Hah..