Before powdered drink mixes people refreshed themselves by adding fruit and sugar to water to make a punch. There’s lemonade for example or horchata and aguas frescas from Latin countries. In Eastern Europe they turn their surplus fruit into a refreshing drink called kompot.
Kompot can be made from a variety of fruits, fresh or dried. As with other things of this nature, every family has their favorite preparation. It’s a great way to use up fruits that might be a little over ripe or dinged up.
If you’re confused about the regular stewed fruits we call compote, it’s OK. The two seem to be related and may have originated in Byzantium and spread to Europe with the Turks.
When Rick and I were in Moldova last month we had the opportunity to try a plum kompot and it was delicious! It was served in juice glasses and was chilled from being stored in the cellar. I added it to my mental list of Moldovan foods I wanted to make at home.
Plums of all shapes and colors are still widely available right now, but I could have chosen peaches as in the photo above from Wikipedia or apples and berries. This page on Enjoy Your Cooking has several varieties of kompot and The Kitchn has an article with more links as well. Feel free to mix and match fruits according to what’s in season or available in the pantry…frozen or dried fruits can be used to make this versatile beverage. You can add spices if you like and the sweetener you choose is entirely up to you. The color will vary depending on the fruit you choose.
I used 1 1/2 pounds of yellow and red plums plus a handful of dates for sweetness to make my kompot. The basic recipe is fruit, sugar, herbs and spices for flavor and sugar. Bring the whole thing to a strong simmer and cook until the fruit is soft.
It’s easy enough to make adjustments to suit your tastes and whatever you have on hand. It’s possible to preserve the kompot for storage but it requires a water bath canner and the addition of some lemon juice for acidity. Here’s a PDF file from the USDA that might be helpful.
I made a small batch that we easily drank in a couple days. You can eat the fruit, too if you like. We also liked it mixed half and half with soda water. Naturally there are all sorts of possibilities for adult beverages…I’ll let you work that one out.
- 1½ pounds of plums, cut in half, pits removed
- 10 dates, pitted
- cinnamon stick
- star anise
- (You can use any combination of herbs and spices you like with the fruits or skip them altogether.)
- sugar to taste (I stirred in a quarter cup)
- ½ gallon water
- Place the fruits and any seasonings in the bottom of a stock pot or dutch oven.
- Add the sugar and cover with a half gallon of water.
- Bring to a near boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for a half hour or more until the fruit has softened.
- Taste and adjust the sweetener or add more water as needed.
- Transfer some of the fruit and the liquid to container(s).
- Refrigerate to cool.
Photo Credit for jar of peach kompot: By Biso (Own work) [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons