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Anyone doing/done this?  My friend's peach tree is giving us LOTS of very yummy fruit but we can't keep up with it.  In past years I've cut and frozen it but was looking for something different.  I have a crock that I think will work so I'm going to try it.  Any experiences to share?  Thanks folks,  Mary

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Hi Mary,  I've made rumtopf :-)

It is easy.  You need to choose the booze you prefer, sugar is optional but a good idea.  The fruit has to always sit below the surface of the booze - think soaking any fruit in brandy or similar.  The fruit flavors the booze and the booze preserves the fruit.

Rumtopf historically was another way of preserving the seasonal fruit, creating layers of each harvest.

A crock or even a gallon or 1/2 gallon mason jar will work.

This wikipedia page says citations are needed but the information is accurate from the material I read decades ago.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rumtopf

I've never made it, but I'll happily be your taste tester!

Very generous offer Leanne!  I'll keep it in mind if I get a large batch.  I'll start some today, maybe use Wild Turkey since a high proof liquor is recommended.  WT is 101.  Catherine can you confirm that the crock should not be air-tight?  One site mention the possibility of botulism in a sealed crock.

Mary - The botulism warnings are always there and for good reason, because some people just do not pay attention.

Either air tight or not - as long as the fruit is always under the liquor surface it will be fine.  If not airtight - the alcohol will evaporate which could be an issue exposing the fruit.

I personally cap in a mason jar to keep from evaporating.  So air-tight in my opinion simply means to keep from evaporating, not sealed like in canning as the crocks/containers were opened frequently to add more fruit, unless the user wanted each fruit separate in its own container.

The use of crocks pre-dates glass - that is all.  Dark storage kept some of the fruit from turning color - which was not a health issue but an visual one.

Catherine, thanks for all those great details.  I used a half-gallon mason jar, it's tall and slender as opposed to short and stout.  I was able to get about 3#'s of de-skinned peaches packed in and poured maybe a quarter of the 750 ml bottle of Wild Turkey to top it off.  Then added a ziploc baggie of water as weight to hold the fruit under the alcohol.  My concern however is the bits of fruit that are free floating.  It's hard to get a good seal without one of those custom designed weights that come with a crock.  Should I transfer to a wider mouth container?  One that a plate will sit in top first, then the baggie.

Mary based on my experiences with both the fruit and even my sauerkraut fermenting, I have not personally worried about the bits floating.  With the alcohol there is quite a bit of saturation of the liquor into the fruit.  If something molds it would be on the top and could be removed.

The fruit will start to go soft and relax leaving more liquid at the top, so this additionally should keep it under the liquid.

FYI - I actually did purchase glass pickle weights, but a slender pint mason jar filled with water works as well.

Oh and Ah Hah - glass pickle weights.  I'll look for these.  I may try the slender mason jar but I painted the big jar to keep out light and adding that jar, unpainted, would cancel some of that benefit.  I found a really cool metallic blue can of spray paint in my cupboard.  It looks good.  :-)

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