Varenye is a traditional Russian home-made jam. It's very popular in Russia to make jam at home out of strawberries, apricots, cherry, raspberry and other fruits and berries of the season
What is the difference between varenye and jam? Varenye is a delicacy made of fruits or berries cooked with sugar. The ingredients are soaked with syrup but they should not lose their shape or be overcooked. Jam is a dessert, obtained by boiling fruits or berries until smooth gelatinous mass.
A traditional tea party in Russia did not go without varenye. Some historians believe that this desert is a Russian national dish; others believe that the tradition of making home-made jam was borrowed from the Finno-Ugric tribes. Up to 1801 Russia didn't produce sugar and foreign sugar was very expensive. So varenye was cooked with honey.
Varenye was loved by some of the Russian tsars. It's known that Catherine II was very fond of gooseberry jam while Ivan the Terrible had a passion for cucumber jam.
Every family in Russia has its secrets of varenye making. Most popular and beloved home-made jams include strawberry, cherry, apricot, raspberry, cranberry, walnut, blueberry. But during your Moscow tours, you might also try more rare kinds of varenye. Thus you can try a home-made jam made out of gooseberry, tangerine, rose petals, watermelon peels, dandelion, zucchini, and many others
A very tasty is Cornelian cherries varenye
Cornelian cherries – 1 kg
Sugar – 1,5 kg
1. Wash the Cornelian cherries
2. Put berries into a pan, add boiling water (not much, just to cover the berries), cover with a lid and put on low heat for 7-10 minutes
3. Drain the water, mix the Cornelian cherries with sugar, and bring to a boil. (Water is not needed as the berries have enough of juice)
4. Set a pan aside for 10 to 12 hours.
5. 10 hours later bring the varenie to a boil and immediately spill into prepared sterilized jars.
A truly nice experience is to try varenie while visiting a Russian family. Such a visit can be added to your 3 days in Moscow tour.