The technology of cooking varenye
The Russian word "varenye" translates as "something that was boiled". But in the modern Russian language this word not used. Now this word is used only to name the dessert.
Varenye is a boiled mix of berries or fruits and syrup. The exchange process happens while boiling. The syrup absorbs the berry juice, and the berries absorb the sugar from the syrup. Sugar acts as a preserver. That is why varenye can be stored for a long time. As you see, all the ingredients are natural.
The cooking of varenye is an art. Each sort has its unique recipe. As the first step, prepare a syrup. After, mix a syrup with berries or fruits. And then, boil the mix for 5-30 minutes; the duration depends on type of fruit or berry.
Some sources on the internet say that there are sorts of varenye with recommended boiling duration of few hours. It is not true, because berries or pieces of fruits should keep its shape. If we talk about popular sorts of this dessert, then the maximal duration is 30 minutes.
The key moment while cooking varenye - when you need to check its readiness. Russians use a special method of testing. Need to take one drop of the boiling varenye and put it on a plate. If it keep shape and not spread, then the dessert is ready.
It is very important to check the readiness. If varenye boils too long, the pieces inside will lose its shape. If the boiling duration is not enough, then you will not be able to store it for a long time and the taste will be bad.
Varenye contains a lot of sugar. The ratio of berries or fruits and sugar should be between 1:1 and 1:1,5. Usually it is very sweet and is almost impossible to eat it pure.
There is a special type called "dry varenye". In fact, it is the mix of crushed berries and sugar. It is hard to call this dish with the word "varenye".
Most common main ingredients
We Russians can cook varenye from almost any eatable ingredient. The berry sorts are most widespread - raspberry, strawberry and cherry. The fruit sorts are also popular - apple, apricot, plum, peach and pear. The vegetable sorts are rarer - carrot, squash and pumpkin.
There are some sorts that may seem strange to foreigners. For example, an orange peel can be used.
We don`t want you to think that this unusual ingredient is used because Russians are poor. An orange peel is very healthy, and this type of varenye is very delicious. A watermelon peel is also a good ingredient.
Varenye may be cooked of different nuts, but this type is rare. Walnut and pine cones are most widespread. You may see it in the photo at the right. Even there are few types made of mushrooms.
We think you can not imagine a dessert cooked of onion. In Russia it is possible, and there is a type of onion varenye. Аloe is also an acceptable ingredient. It is hard to imagine dandelion can be used in culinary, but dandelion varenye is popular in Russia.
The only ingredients cannot be used in varenye - it is meat and dairy products. All other ingredients are welcome.
Raspberry varenye - the classical sort
The most popular and delicious varenye in Russia is made of raspberry. Our people believe it is a best cure against common cold diseases, and hundreds of years of Russian experience prove this fact.
The raspberry varenye is little different from others. We wrote above, that berries should keep its shape. But, it is not possible for raspberry because of the structure of this berry.
The raspberry varenye consists of small balls mixed with syrup. When you will see it, do not be upset or surprised.
Raspberry is an expensive product unlike strawberry, and the price for raspberry varenye is higher. Do not be surprised by the prices, when visiting a supermarket. One bush of raspberry may give only 200-500 grams of berries within one year. It is not a large harvest.
The most romantic present from Russia
If you want to make a present to a lovely woman, what you prefer as a gift? It is flowers or sweets usually. In Russia you can find these two presents inside a single jar.
This varenye made of rose petals is one of the best gifts for a woman. Please watch for the photo on the right. We think it is the most romantic dish of Russian cuisine.
Unfortunately, it is not easy to find; most of supermarkets do not sell it. If you strongly desire to purchase it, we will give an advice. In Russia there is the retail network called "Azbuka Vkusa" translates as "ABC-book of Taste". It is very expensive supermarkets, but you have good chances to find rose petals varenye there.
Where to buy varenye in Moscow
The easiest way is to visit a supermarket. We will give you three tips.
The first tip - you should purchase raspberry varenye. If you want to feel the taste of Russia you would taste this dessert. The second - do not purchase plastic packages with varenye, because it is believed it is not healthy. The third - it is better to buy a few small jars with different sorts instead of one large jar. More sorts are more pleasure.
We prepared a small gallery of photos from one of Russian supermarkets. See the photos below.
Varenye in Russian culture and way of life
Housewives cook varenye across the Russia every summer. The season of conservation starts at June then the first strawberry grows up, and comes to end in autumn in October with the last apples.
Boiling this dessert is a fiesta for children. A skin appears on the surface while boiling, and it should be removed. This skin is a desired trophy for children. For many Russians the best childhood memories are linked with these skins of varenye. This dessert is an important part of the Russian way of life.
We often eat varenye with tea. Not every beverage is good. For example, if you try to eat varenye with coffee, then people will think you are a stranger.
The second way is to make a sandwich with wheat bread. Do not try to use black rye bread, because it is not very delicious.
This manner became popular in the Soviet Union after the legendary movie "Devchata" (translates as "The Girls") was released. The main character of the movie made an enormous sandwich of bread and varenye. Please watch the photo of DVD on the left. This movie was released in 1962.
Varenye is also popular as a sauce for syrniki and blini.
Small pies with varenye as a filling are also widespread. You can find these pies in every supermarket in Russia. There are also many other ways; everything depends on your imagination.
Enjoy with the Russian desserts and read our articles (see list of links below and on the left column).