Kompot: The Fruit Punch of Eastern Europe

If you ask a Polish, Russian, Ukrainian, or other Eastern European kompot maker what goes into his or her recipe, the answer might vary by region, time of year, and cook. Whether made from fresh cherries or dried apricots, what these fruit punches do have in common is that they're delightfully refreshing and sweet.

Not to be confused with the dessert called compote, kompot is a non-alcoholic drink made from fruit simmered with water and sugar. Kompot has existed since at least the 15th century and was traditionally preserved so that one could enjoy the flavor of fruit year-round. At Eastern European markets one can often buy jars of kompot ready to serve, but it's easy to make at home.

Fresh, frozen, or dried fruits can all be used to make kompot, and the sky's the limit – try cherries, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, apricots, peaches, plums, apples, and pears, either alone or in combination. A basic formula is 1 pound of fruit, 4 quarts of water, and 1 cup of sugar. Bring all of the ingredients to a boil, then simmer for about 15 minutes and let cool. Serve chilled with some of the fruit in each glass.

Recipes to try:
Kompot of Red Currants and Peaches at Food Thru A Lens (pictured)
Homemade Juice (Kompot) at Natasha's Kitchen
Plum Kompot at Coffee & Vanilla
Iced Fruit Drink (Kompot) made with dried fruit at Global Table Adventure

Related: A Traditional Polish Drink with Rhubarb and Honey

(Images: Ira Leoni/Food Thru A Lens)

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