Everyone has a fond childhood memory connected to Summer. For me it has always been spending my carefree summer days at my grandmother’s orchard; its trees overflowing with peaches and apricots, cherries and plums, and its bushes rich with blueberries, gooseberries, and raspberries.
She would give me a small woven basket and ask me to pick berries for her. We would pick peaches, apricots and plums together because I was not yet tall enough to reach the branches; but secretly when my grandmother wasn’t watching, I would climb the tree, swinging from branch to branch and indulge in the most delicious fruit I’d ever tasted.
We would lay out the fruit in her little country house kitchen (whatever wasn’t eaten en route to the house!) and pick out the ripest ones to make her renowned stewed fruit beverage, the traditional Russian kompot. And as the kompot simmered in a heavy saucepan on the traditional wood stove, the distinct smell of summer wafted through the house. Once cooled, she would pour it into a large glass jug and serve it in those traditional painted enamel mugs as we sat on the front porch in the shade of the enormous grapevines.
The little country house and its beautiful orchard are long gone now, but the memory of those carefree summers lives on in my grandmother’s recipe for Kompot. It is always my drink of choice on these hot sunny days and it’s one of the best ways to use up really ripe fruit that you know won’t be consumed otherwise! And it’s a big hit with the kids! It has become our little summer tradition.
The basic recipe calls for an analogy of 2 parts water to 1 part fruit. In plain English, that’s 2 liters of water for every 1kg (2lbs) of fruit. You can pick any fruit of your choice but a combination of sweet and sour works best. I love to add apricots and apples for their sweetness, peaches and pears for their tanginess, and cherries for the beautiful pink color they add to the fruit drink.
Peel, core and chop the apples and the pears; pit the peaches and the apricots. I throw in my cherries just they way they are.
Add all fruit to a large pot, pour in 8 cups water; add 3tbs of honey and bring to a boil. Let the kompot simmer for 5 minutes, remove from heat and let it cool completely in the pot. Once cooled, discard the fruit (keep a few for extra flavor) transfer to a glass jug or mason jar and keep in the fridge for up to 3 days. Serve over ice cubes or with a splash of black tea for a Russian flavored ice tea drink!
Summer Fruit Punch Recipe
2lbs (1kg) fresh fruit of your choice
8 cups (2l) water
Wash, peel, and core fruit. Add fruit to heave saucepan, pour in water and add honey. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, cool completely in the saucepan.
Store in a glass jug or mason jar in the fridge for up to 3 days.