a) All berries and fruits intended for conserves (that is, for compotes in the winter), must be very ripe and of the highest quality.
b) Glass jars, called compotiers (kompot’er) are used for preparing such con-serves. Such jars are wider at the bottom than at the top. Pour syrup over the berries and fruits before wrapping the jars in hay or straw and setting them in a saucepan with cold water.
c) Boil the jars for 15–20 minutes, counting from the minute when the water begins to boil
d) Wrap the jars with a bladder and tie with twine before setting them in a saucepan with water. The bladder must be be soaked in salted warm water for a full hour and then washed thoroughly in fresh water before being wrapped around the jars. Place a piece of clean linen under the bladder. However, the jars may be wrapped with linen even without the bladder.
e) Fill the jars leaving a space 3 fingers wide at the top.
g) The very best preserves are prepared from gooseberries, peaches, pears, “amber” apples [a variety of yellow crabapple], raspberries, apricots, plums, cultivated strawberries, sour cherries, grapes, and sweet cherries.
h) The syrup poured over the berries becomes very watery with time. When preparing a compote from these berries and fruit, remove the bladder and pour off several spoonfuls of the syrup from the top. Pour the remaining syrup into a pan, add sugar, and reduce until thick. Cool, pour over the berries and fruit arranged on a platter, and serve. But only white syrups from peaches, pears, plums, and grapes are used for compotes in this way. Compotes with colored syrups are served only with meats and they should be half as sweet [as ordinary syrups].
i) A compote of various berries and fruits, nicely arranged and doused with white syrup, makes a very attractive platter.
© 1992 All rights reserved. Published by Indiana University Press.