by Timur  

The Russian word варенье is used to identify a type of thick, sweet, conserved fruit or berry syrup. It is not exactly a jam, but more like a preserve. Berries and fruits are boiled in water with a lot of sugar until everything becomes thick and heavy. In fact, the word comes from the Russian варить (to boil) and can be confused with варение (the process of boiling something).

You can assuredly say that варенье is a part of the Russian cuisine and culture just like pelmeni, borscht and vodka are. Russian summers are brief and winters can get a little long, so people put up perishable fruits and berries for the cold days by preserving them. It has always been the most common type of dessert on the table and one of the essential innards of every home’s kitchen cabinet, especially if there are children. Most mothers and grandmothers have their own recipes with special ingredients that usually make homemade варенье taste far superior to whatever might be found on the supermarket shelf.

Picture of fresh cherries next to a picture of a dish of cherry preservesВаренье made from cherries. Image from sarsmis.livejournal.com.

Here are some example sentences:

Мне больше всего нравится варенье из черной смородины. My favorite preserve is black currant.
Завтра бабушка будет варить много варенья на зиму. Tomorrow grandma will boil a lot of preserves for the winter.
Карлсон, который живет на крыше, очень любит варенье. Carlson who lives on the roof loves preserves very much.
Не ешь клубничное варенье, а то у тебя будет диабет. Don't eat strawberry preserve, or you’ll have diabetes.

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