Sunday, January 7, 2007

An Heirloom Recipe: Tutti-Frutti

The other night while I was making yogurt, my dad happened to remember a recipe that his mother and father used to make, something that involved "some type of whisky" and a lot of different fruits.

"You could put it on ice cream," he said, "and Ma would make cakes out of it. "

It took him a while to remember what it was called, but he eventually remembered that the stuff was Tutti-Frutti.

After a search, I located one recipe, and Dad confirmed that, yes, this is the one.

For the sake of slow foods, I'm publishing the recipe here. It's a really, really slow all growing season long! Dad remembered the recipe while I was making yogurt because he said that when the Tutti-Frutti jar ran low, they'd have to use the remaining sauce as a starter for the next batch.

I'm kicking around the idea of making a batch of this for my dad this summer, if I can figure out what a "sweet" jar is.

Keep in mind if you try this that I have not tested it in my kitchen.



Put a pint of brandy into a thoroughly sweet three-gallon stone jar.

Beginning with strawberries, the first fruit of the season, add in succession the various fruits as they appear in market, taking care to choose only those which are choice, firm and fresh.

Add a pound of sugar to each pound of fruit until the jar is almost half full, then use three- quarters of a pound of sugar to each pound of fruit.

Stir the mixture thoroughly for several mornings after each addition of fruit and sugar to dissolve the sugar, using for this purpose a wooden or granite-ware spoon and taking care not to mash the fruit.

Cover the jar securely and keep in the cellar or in a cool, dry place.

Use the following proportion of fruit: Two quarts strawberries, one large pineapple, one quart red cherries, one quart yellow cherries, one quart red raspberries, one pint large currants, one quart apricots and prunes, plums and peaches to fill the jar.

Leave the berries whole, cut the pineapple into suitable pieces for eating, seed the cherries, pare the apricots and peaches and cut into halves or quarters, and stone the plums and leave whole.

From lovetoknow recipes.


jill said...

I think a "sweet jar" is simply one that is used only for sweets. As in, no pickles. It seems to me that my pickling queen aunt had crocks marked "sweet" and "dill" that were only used to make those types of pickles. Maybe an Amish lady could confirm this?

Glad to see you won the pasta maker!

impromptu-mom said...

Actually, a sweet jar is one that is thouroghly cleaned and sanitized. No bad smells or crud = no extra invisible mold or bacteria. Stone jars can be unevenly glazed (or not glazed at all)and therefore harbor nasties if not properly cleaned. Because this recipe relies on fermentation, past cooks would have noticed that the recipe would go haywire if the stone jar wasn't totally clean or smell-free to start (the bacteria would keep the wild yeasts from multipling and would allow baddies and mold to grow, so no fermentation).

This recipe has been in use in one form or another almost as long as there have been cultivated fruit and alcohol in the same place. It was a way of using the last bits of in season fruit. With no refrigeration, those last few cherries were ready to turn in a day or two. This was the fruit equivalent of the always simmering soup pot on the back of the stove into which the cook would throw any spare scraps of meat or vegetable. Any fruit grown or harvested nearby would have been used. Whatever they had to hand.

So the use of sweet in this recipe is just an archaic form of clean and nice smelling, even though it is used in a modern recipe.

And that concludes Prof. Shannon's lecture for the day, lol.

Thicket Dweller said...

Shannon, THANK YOU for that wonderful lesson! I'm very excited to know what that term means, now. I looked and looked online to find out and couldn't come up with a good explanation. Yours makes perfect sense. Bonus! Do you mind if I include this with the main post?

impromptu-mom said...

Of course! Feel free!

I hope I didn't sound too lecture-y, but this is what comes of reading many, many, MANY old books. It's nice to have my jumbled collection of knowledge be used for something other than feeling superior while playing Trivial Pursuit, lol!

tuttifrutti said...

Need tutti frutti help! I did this last year to rave reviews. I just checked and the fruit is all bad. I have strained it all off the liquid, which tastes ok and I am contemplating using it to try again with fruit that I have frozen.

Has anyone done this? Advice? Help! I meant this to be used for Christmas gifts!