Turnip Schnapps

Ark of taste
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Wildschönauer Krautinger

Wildschönau Krautinger is a turnip schnapps made from turnips grown in the Wildschönau, Tyrol.Wildschönau turnips are diversely known as Wasserrübe (Water Turnip), Mairübe (May Turnip) or Herbstrübe (Autumn Turnip) depending on the harvest period, and are also known in a local dialect as ‘Soachruam’ or ‘Ruam’. The turnip can be conserved in a similar way to sauerkraut and was eaten in this form for centuries as an important staple food in the Alps. After the Second World War, it was dismissed as a vegetable for the poor and its production was greatly reduced. It is flat in shape, which makes the manual harvest easier, and varies in colour from white to violet and sometimes green depending on the farm. Seed selection is increasingly determined by a high sugar content in the turnip juice, which leads to a higher alcohol yield in the distillery. It has a rather spicy taste and is eaten raw with a little salt, as a soup or as a side dish. The seeds are sown by hand or by a sowing machine. The turnips are planted twice a year at the beginning of May and end of June (before St. Jacob’s Day on 26. July). The first harvest is between 20th and 27th July. The turnips from the summer sowing are harvested in mid October. After the harvest, the turnips used to make schnapps are washed clean, crushed to a pulp in a fruit mill and squeezed. The juice is then heated over beech wood to a temperature of 95/96°C and reduced to a third of its original volume. The turnip juice must be concentrated so that a certain level of sugar content is achieved. Subsequently yeast is added and the concentrated mass is fermented for 48 hours and then distilled. The Krautinger Schnapps is remarkable due to its strong taste of turnips. The quality of the Krautinger depends on the weather, the species of turnip and the distilling process. Approx 30,000 to 35,0000 kg of turnips are grown per year in the region, and approximately 5000 litres of Wildschönau Krautinger Schnapps are produced. It is sold directly on the farms, in the Wildschönau Farm Shop, at farmer’s markets and at festivals.The Krautinger distillery rights have been held by approximately 50 local farming families for about 250 years.16 Krautinger producers formed the Wildschönau Krautinger Consortium in 1994 and committed themselves to the exclusive use of regionally cultivated and rurally reproduced turnips for manufacture of the distillate and to improve the quality of the Krautinger through meticulous processing. Producers cultivate their own individual species of turnips.The Krautinger turnip has its own dedicated ‘Krautinger Week’ that takes place during the Wildschönau ‘Genuss Herbst’, a series of events taking place throughout the autumn in Tyrol. Sales outside the Wildschönau are promoted at events and fairs organized by the ‘Genussregionen’ (Genussfestival in Vienna and the Harvest Festival in Vienna) or at the Agricultural Fair in Wels.

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