Cherry Kompot

cherries in colander

When I was 16, I went to Poland. It was the first time I’d ever been outside of North America and I was thrilled to be seeing more of the world. I went with a small group of fellow teenagers from my Unitarian church, to be native speakers at English immersion camp outside of Warsaw.

It’s been twenty years now since that trip and while many of the specifics have blurred, I still remember the meals clearly. They were served family style at long tables, with benches on either side. Breakfast and dinner were much the same, consisting of sturdy rolls, cheese, butter, yogurt, jam, sliced cucumber, fruit, and often some ham or sausage. We drank tea, milk, and water.

cherries in water

The main meal was served at lunchtime and always consisted of three simple courses. First there would be soup (I had my first chilled cucumber soup that summer). Then there would be cooked meat, potatoes, and a vegetable. To finish, a fruit-based dessert. And in the upper right hand corner of the place setting, you also had a small glass filled with lukewarm juice, with a piece of cherry or plum resting at the bottom. This was the kompot.

steaming kompot

The first time I was confronted by a glass of kompot, I was wary. It was unlike any beverage I’d had in the US and the soften fruit in the bottom gave me pause. After one taste, I was among the kompot converted. It was mildly sweet and refreshing, reminding me slightly of what Kool Aid might be if made with fresh fruit.

finished compete

A few weeks back, 20 pounds of cherries arrived on my doorstep, sent by the Washington State Fruit Commission as part of the Canbassador program. As I gazed at those cherries pondering how to best use them, a memory of the kompot popped into my head. After a few quick searches, I cobbled a recipe together and brewed up a batch of cherry kompot. After it had cooled a little, I ladled up a glass and it tasted of that summer 20 years ago.

Cherry Kompot

Ingredients

  • 1 gallon filtered water
  • 1 1/2 pounds cherries (remove stems but don't worry about the pits)
  • 1 cup sugar

Instructions

  1. Combine the water, cherries, and sugar in a medium stockpot.
  2. Set over high heat and bring to a boil.
  3. Once it reaches an active boil, reduce the heat to medium-high to maintain a gentle simmer, and cook for 20 to 25 minutes.
  4. Once the fruit has split and the color of the liquid has taken on a ruby hue, it is done.
  5. Remove the pot from the heat and set it aside to cool.
  6. Drink warm or chilled, making sure to give each glass a piece of fruit or two.
  7. The kompot can be made and kept in the fridge for 4-5 days. Any longer than that and it may start to ferment slightly. I kept mine for about three weeks and by the end of its life, it was slightly fizzy and a bit boozy. This is not a bad thing to my mind, but you wouldn't want to serve it to kids in that state.
http://foodinjars.com/2015/07/cherry-kompot/

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11 Responses to Cherry Kompot

  1. 1
    Betsy says:

    Are these sweet cherries, or pie cherries?

  2. 2
    Andigrif says:

    thanks for the idea. I have some cherries – not quite enough to make compote & I don’t want to pickle them so this could be the answer. I’m thinking I could freeze some or maybe make ice cubes since I’m not sure I could drink it all in a couple days.

  3. 3
    Patricia R. says:

    This sounds so delicious and simple. If I can come up with the cherries, I will try it with coconut sugar.

  4. 4
    Jocelyn says:

    Do you think this would work with other summer fruit, besides stone fruit?

  5. 5
    jennifer k. says:

    Hi Marisa! I’ve lost your email and am wondering if you are still connecting philly swappers to fruit sellers? I’m searching for some good fruit, please email me jsknipe at comcastdotnet

    • 5.1
      Marisa says:

      Jennifer, I’m not really doing that any more. Your best bet is to get in touch with the folks at the Fair Food Farmstand. They often have good deals for canners!

  6. 6
    Barbara says:

    You’ve got me hooked! I also have make a cherry shrub, and cherry ice cream this summer, and I love cherry preserves, too. As soon as I see them for sale here!

  7. 7
    Savonarola says:

    Great Balls of FIRE that’s good. One batch, and we’re hooked. I already make sour cherries into jam, syrup, maraschino cherries, pie, etc. – but i had some sweet cherries that the kids weren’t eating fast enough. Well, they will now!

  8. 8
    Eileen says:

    Such a good idea. I need to keep this in mind for the next half-bag of cherries we just can’t finish eating (which happens surprisingly often, considering how short cherry season is).

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