Uzvar (Dried fruit compote) – Popular Ukrainian Christmas drink

Christmas is coming and I encourage you to cook the traditional Ukrainian drink uzvar that has a very simple yet refined recipe including fruits and berries that grow in almost every Ukrainian garden) In olden times, uzvar symbolized a good life: fruits meant fertility, while honey meant a sweet life.


What exactly is uzvar?

Uzvar is a yummy fruit-berry drink which has an old, time-proven recipe that is popular, loved, and widespread until today. This drink is most often cooked and served on Christmas Eve. Its main ingredients are dried fruits and berries in combination with and sugar or honey. To boil this drink, fruits and berries were dried on a Ukrainian stove since autumn.

Ukrainian ancestors were very wise! From olden times, they back then knew that dried fruits and berries were not just delicacies but a rich source of vitamins and nutrients!

In the middle of winter and after fasting, the vitamins absorbed by the body begin to run out. Of course, this inevitably affects the health and fitness of a person: their appearance, well-being and mood. And the so-called "dried summer" - dried fruits and berries - helps us to overcome vitamin deficiency. That is why this drink was so popular in the winter when vitamins are lacking.


The secret of cooking

In the very name “uzvar” lies the peculiarity of cooking this magnificent drink. Unlike a usual berry/fruit drink (kompot), uzvar is not boiled but only brought to a boil, and then it is “zavariuvatysia” (brewed) for several hours which allows for preserving the health properties of fruits and berries.

As dried fruits and berries are themselves very sweet, sometimes there is even no need to sweeten the drink. But if you taste your uzvar and want to add some sweetness, you may put sugar when the drink comes to boil or pour honey when uzvar becomes warm.

Ingredients:

  • 100 g (3,5 oz) dried cherries
  • 100 g (3,5 oz) dried pears
  • 100 g (3,5 oz) dried apples
  • 100 g (3,5 oz) dried cornelian cherries
  • 100 g (3,5 oz) dried apricots
  • 100 g (3,5 oz) dried prunes
  • 100 g (3,5 oz) dates
  • Sugar/honey – to taste

Cooking

Let's prepare fruits and berries

 

Coat dried fruits and berries with warm water and leave for 20-30 minutes to let them soak. Then wash fruits and berries under running water two times.

Pour 5 liters of water in a pan and bring the water to boil. Transfer dried fruits to the pan. Bring the water to boil again and turn off the fire. Cover the pan with a lid.


Tips to boil healthy uzvar

Dried fruit compote should not boil, it should be infused for around 5-6 hours. It’s recommended to cover uzvar with a towel or blanket to make it cool more slowly and let dried fruits and berries give more flavor to the drink.

When the drink becomes warm, sweeten it with honey if needed and stir everything thoroughly. You can use sugar instead of honey and put it when uzvar is still hot.

Uzvar should be served chilled. It’s better to filter the drink before serving. You can decorate a cup with some boiled fruits and berries.

Enjoy your meal!

Have you liked the recipe for a dried fruit drink?

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