Friday, June 10, 2011

Making a Rumtopf in a Piece of German History

A Rumtopf (Rum Pot in English) is a large covered ceramic jar filled with aged fruits rum and sugar.

A Rumtopf is traditionally started in the spring and created by collecting and adding fruits to the pot as they come into season. 

For a long time I have been eyeing Rumtopf jars in local thrift stores. My initial idea was to get a few similar ones to use as flour and sugar canisters. Most of them were too kitchy. I love kitch but these were not my kind of kitchy and I never could find quite what I wanted in either color or design. 

Recently, I spotted a lovely one more plain than the rest. While examining it for cracks and chips I flipped it over and saw this on the bottom.

Made in West Germany before the wall came down. A 5 euro piece of German kitchen history. Instead using it for storage, it motivated me to make my own rumtopf old school.

The first layer was started with fresh whole strawberries, now so abundant here in the German countryside.

The idea of the rumtopf is that after three seasons of adding fruits, by Christmas you have created a sweet, fruity, boozy concoction. It's a lovely dessert by itself or topped with whipped cream or wonderful served over ice cream.

You don't need an actual rumtopf to make this. Any large ceramic canister or glass jar will do.

I'll keep you posted on the progress of my rumtopf as I add new fruits. I want to do it the old traditional way by only adding what grows in our garden. The cherries are coming in fast on our tree so those will most likely be joining the strawberries soon. Definitely on the list are the yellow mirabelle plums followed by the italian purple ones and whatever ripens in between.

Making a Rumtopf

  • 2 cups just ripe (not over ripe) fruit
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • Good quality dark rum 54%
  • Wash, dry, pit and de-stem fruit.
  • Place in a bowl.
  • Add sugar and stir until fruit is coated.
  • Pour mixture into the rumtopf or container.
  • Add rum, making sure fuit is completely submerged.
  • Cover the top with plastic cling wrap, place lid on and store in a cool dark place.

  • Repeat with other variety of fruits waiting a few weeks in between adding each type.
For tips and trouble shooting as well as what types of fruits to use and which ones not to, click HERE.

If you are interested in purchasing an authentic rumtopf, Ebay in both Germany and the USA have quite a large variety up for grabs at very reasonable prices.


  1. I absolutely love the jar! What a great historic find for you. Looking forward to seeing the progress of this Rumtopf.

  2. As a fruitcake addict, I have absolutely no problem with fruit covered in obscene amounts of sugar and liquor. I really want to try this now!

  3. Wow this is crazy! The essence of it reminds me of caponata, though obviously the two are very different! But with caponata, you're supposed to just keep adding more eggplant over time with the idea that the old eggplant will brine it.

    I can't wait to hear what it tastes like!

  4. I've never heard of this before but like the entire idea - from using the fruits in your garden to having it ready for Christmas! What a tradition and a beautiful find in the rumtopf jar.


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