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Best season to travel to Ukraine

Plum Season

Late summer in Ukraine is time to load your stomach with sweet purple fruit

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Plum harvest time differs in various parts of Ukraine—in southern areas it begins in mid-July, and a bit later spreads to northern and western regions. People feast on fresh fruit, as the short season is over in September. The fruit is available in every market, and it's not expensive, so eat as much as you can, just note it has a great content of sugar.

A part of the harvest is preserved as plum drinks, jams, and other winter treats. You can observe the process of jam cooking at the colourful plums festival held annually in late August in Transcarpathian village of Hecha (Mazevheche) located close to the border with Hungary. Every other host in the area is an owner of a lush orchard that produces a unique variety of plums called "venherka" (also "uhorka" or "bystrytsia"). This is the only variety that is used to produce the so-called Transcarpathian lekvar, a thick dark-coloured jam.

It all runs in a form of a contest. Participants have to simply clean the fruit and then boil them in huge cauldrons (70 to 100 litres in volume).

They add no sugar but the cooking itself has to last for 20 to 30 hours non-stop. It means someone has to watch the process even throughout the night. When you turn a bowl with the jam upside down, and it doesn't flow out, it means you've got lekvar.

The visitors of the festival are invited to also sample the half-cooked jam called tsibere which has dark red colouring and is more fluid, as well as a range of other dishes of local cuisine.

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