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Magiun de Prune

Silvoiță is the name for a highly concentrated plum jam made from the Bistrițene or Grase plum varieties. During the preparation of the jam, there is no other ingredient added except the fruits. When using the Bistițene variety, very ripe plums are chosen usually during the second half of September, when the plums are sweet and slightly shriveled. The stones of the fruit are removed and a small quantity of plums are placed in a large pot called a căldare that is placed above a fire into a deep hole in the ground. A wooden cross-shaped device sits at the bottom of the pot and can be rotated by an arm that extends out from the pot, in order to mix the fruit while cooking.

As the fruits release their liquid, more plums are added over the course of 16-18 hours to use 40 kg of fruit. The jam takes on a thicker consistency and darker color as it cooks. It is considered finished when it sticks to the back of a spoon turned upside down. The process is similar when using Grase plums, but as the stones are difficult to remove with this variety, these boiling fruit is passed through a clay strainer to separate the liquid from the stones. This liquid (țiribic) is returned to the fire until it reaches the desired consistency. The finished silvoiță stored in clean pots and can be kept for up to two years.

This product was once found throughout central Romania (Transylvania) and dates back over 100 years. It would be eaten on soft bread, used to make cakes, pies and crepes, but also with pasta, polenta, cooked semolina or stuffed into ravioli. Because of the long production process, often multiple families would gather together outside to make the silvoiță while simultaneously shucking corn or removing the seeds from sunflowers. Many families would often share one communal cooking pot, and the coals from the cooking fire would be used to roast potatoes. This custom has died out over time, but is slowly being revived as a result of changing consumer habits.

Today, silvoiță is made in smaller quantities than in the past, both for household consumption and small-scale sales. It can be found at some farmers markets in smaller to medium sized cities. However, over this product is at risk of being lost due to the depopulation of the Transylvanian villages and the disappearance of the old pots and devices used to make silvoiță. Furthermore, the old traditional varieties of plums are being replaced with other varieties that have a higher productivity.

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