Published on September 14th, 2015 | by TLV News0
Some Food Stories from a Curious Observer – Part 4: Fall Fruits
My Grandaddy especially loved his apple trees. He was always busy with grafting new sorts and trimming branches. We usually had plenty of apples which lasted a whole winter long, providing us with vitamins.
Apples were usually preserved fresh (the fall sorts) or, if we had too many summer sorts, which were not able to stay fresh long, we were making some jam or jelly out of them. Often they were sliced and dried out on a hot roof, inside the attic or in the oven on slow. Dried apples were stored in the dry cool closet in the fabric bags. Grandma was making pie fillings out of them, or some kind of a dessert drink.
That drink is named “kompot”, is served after the main course, and is super popular at the family lunches and food courts. You can make it out of any kind of dried fruit. Usually they sell in stores a “kompot mix” which consists of dried apples, prunes, apricots, raisins and pears.
You just get a handful, add couple quarts of water and some sugar and boil it for half an hour or an hour. Then scoop some fruit, put it on a bottom of a glass and add the sweet liquid. It can be served warm or chilled.
It is surprisingly refreshing and provides you with vitamins, fiber and minerals when there are not fresh fruit around. That dried fruit mix is easy to store and light by weight, so it is widely used as a dried goods supply on hiking trips and field research expeditions.
Talking about the dessert drinks, I have to mention another popular one. It is called “kisel”, and to describe it the best way I would just say- it is a fruit gravy. That potato starch and fruit juice based drink is very gentle to the stomach, so they often serve it in the daycares, schools and hospitals, for people with stomach problems. It is nutritious, light and has vitamins, due to a fruit content. It is pretty much just a boiled fruit juice (or water diluted berry preserves), thickened up with a starch to a gravy consistency, served warm or chilled in the tea cups or glasses.
They sell very cheap concentrate of it by half a pound briquettes. It consists of some dried fruit concentrate, sugar and starch. All you have to do is to dissolve it in a cold water and pour into the pot of boiling water, boil for a few minutes and chill a little to the drinking temperature. When we were kids, we used to buy some with a pocket change and chomp on it raw instead of candy, even though adults warned us against it, saying that we would grow worms in our guts!
Kisel can also be made out of milk, starch and sugar, without any fruit. It looks a little suspicious, but it was always my favorite! Now, seriously, why don’t I ever cook it for myself?