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Uzvar, also known as dried fruit compote, is a traditional beverage originating from Eastern Europe, particularly popular in Ukraine, Russia, and Poland. The word “Uzvar” comes from the word “varit” which means “to boil” in Slavic languages. This drink is made by boiling a variety of dried fruits, resulting in a sweet, flavorful, and highly nutritious beverage.
Uzvar holds a special place in the traditional Ukrainian Christmas Eve dinner, known as “Sviata Vecheria”, which features twelve meatless dishes symbolizing the twelve apostles. Uzvar, often referred to as “kutia”, is one of these twelve dishes. It’s not only enjoyed for its delicious taste but also for its symbolic meaning of unity and memory of the past harvest.
For the Uzvar:
- 200 grams of dried apples
- 200 grams of dried pears
- 100 grams of dried prunes
- 100 grams of dried apricots
- 2 liters of water
- Honey or sugar to taste (optional)
Preparation of Ingredients
- Rinse the dried fruits under cold water to remove any dust or impurities.
- If any of the fruits are particularly large, you may want to cut them into smaller pieces to ensure they rehydrate evenly. However, this is unnecessary if you use smaller fruits like prunes and apricots.
- Place the rinsed dried fruits in a large pot and add the water.
- Bring the water to a boil over medium-high heat. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and let it simmer for about 1-2 hours. This allows the fruits to rehydrate and infuse the water with their flavors.
- After simmering, taste the Uzvar. If you prefer a sweeter drink, you can add honey or sugar to taste. Stir well to ensure any sweetener is fully dissolved.
- Strain the Uzvar through a fine-mesh sieve or cheesecloth into a clean pot or large jug. The fruits can be served alongside the Uzvar, used in other dishes, or eaten as a snack.
- The Uzvar is now ready to be served or can be cooled and stored for later use.
Remember, the types and proportions of dried fruits used in Uzvar can be adjusted based on personal preference. Some people also like to add a few slices of fresh lemon or a handful of raisins to their Uzvar for additional flavor.
Serving and Storage
Uzvar can be served both hot and cold, depending on personal preference. It’s a versatile drink that can be enjoyed on its own, or it can be used as a base for other beverages or even as a sweet sauce to accompany desserts.
To store Uzvar, let it cool down completely, then transfer it to a glass jar or a bottle with a tight-fitting lid. It can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week.
To reheat Uzvar, simply pour the desired amount into a pot and heat it over medium heat until it’s warm. If you prefer to enjoy it cold, you can serve it straight from the refrigerator. Remember to shake or stir it well before serving, as the natural fruit sugars can settle at the bottom.