People have many different ways of defining friendship. Just look around on Pinterest if you don’t believe me — you’ll find a ton of various posts about how to determine if someone qualifies to be a best friend or not. One of my favorites is “A friend will help you move. A best friend will help you move a body.” While I haven’t — and hopefully won’t — ever need to move a body, I still appreciate the sentiment.
After this weekend, I have developed my own definition, more tailored to my own life. “A friend will let you come over and pick a few pounds of strawberries out of his garden. A very good friend will give you rum to soak them in.”
And my friend DB is a very good friend indeed.
This weekend we did some cooking at his house (which will appear in a future post) and we also started a boozy project that I’m very excited about — Rumtopf! Rumtopf is a German concoction that is made from layering fresh fruits (as they come into season) in a crock. The fruit (anything from strawberries to peaches to plums) is mixed with sugar and then covered in rum and left to soak until Christmastime. This link has a pretty good description of the process as well as a recipe. Other recipes we found online all start the same way — fruit, sugar, rum — with slight variations on the fruit or sugar used.
While my pitiful crop of strawberry plants look like they’re on their way to producing about five pieces of fruit, his are heavy with ripe berries, perfect for the picking.
We spent about half an hour in there and came away with easily four pounds of fruit. It was glorious. The best part is, after the season is over, he’s promised me some of his starter plants for my own backyard. Maybe next year my strawberry envy will be a thing of the past!
Until then, I will have to make my way over to DB’s as often as possible to pilfer from his garden. I mean, look at these beauties!
Once we had harvested as much as we could, we rinsed and cleaned all the fruit. It’s important to make sure nothing is rotten or over-ripe. Then we sliced the berries in half and submerged them in booze. The other important thing is to make sure that the fruit is fully submerged — you don’t want any floaters. Use a clean plate as a weight if you need to.
I was lucky because DB supplied me with everything I needed for this project. I didn’t have a crock to bring over, so I simply put mine in a big glass jar that he had on hand. (My rumtopf has since moved to a forever-home in an adorable crock that I picked up last night.) DB also supplied the rum. There is never a shortage of alcohol (for cooking projects or just drinking) when we get together, which is why I love him.
A note about the liquor: It seems as if people are divided on what kind of rum to use. Some say to use a good quality rum, while others seem to think a cheap one is fine. Much like sangria, it seems to be dealer’s choice on this one. I’m not sure what I’ll use when I top off my mixture, but we started our rumtopf with this Haitian aged rhum. I have a feeling it will be delicious.
Then all you need is more fruit, rum and time. Oh yeah. And a lot of will power.