This is the first of the summer fruit crop which will take over my kitchen bench until well into May. The first of our apricots, and these dark, glossy cherry plums from our neighbours. Yesterday I ate the first ripe peach for lunch, and now there are dozens of apricots ready. Our own yellow cherry plums are just ripening, and here is the very first ripe tomato..ta da!
This is a very dark photo taken at 9pm, but you can see the exotic stripes of the Tigerella tomato.
All this fruit, and no children to eat it! I have halved a bunch of apricots and popped them in the dryer. In the past I have always stewed excess apricots, but do you know what? No-one here likes stewed apricots. Stewing doesn't do that glorious apricot flavour any favours at all. But I keep stewing apricots because, well, that's what you do with an apricot glut.. isn't it? The Man's mum was a good country housewife, and she stewed a year's worth of apricots every summer, and froze them in the giant chest freezer in the laundry, and there was always, always stewed apricots and custard for dessert. I think that was where I got the idea stuck in my head that Apricots Must Be Stewed.
This year one of my little projects is to stop and rethink the Things I Always Do. Some of those things are good and useful, some of them are just mental ruts I have slipped into. There is a whole world of wonderful I may be missing due to convenient mental ruts. Stewed apricots is one of those mental ruts. So dried apricots it is this year. Advantages - no cooking, no added sugar. Plus, eating half-dried apricots, still moist and slightly drippy turns out to be one of the gastronomic highlights of my life. Also, the house is perfumed with the fragrance of sweetly dehydrating apricots, which is the very essence of apricot. Disadvantages - my dehydrator is on the small side. Every few hours I bunch up the half-dried apricots (only sampling one or two.. or three) to make room for more fresh ones. I am wondering how to rig up a temporary solar dryer. I am thinking cookie cooler trays with those wire cloches made for keeping flies off food, set up in the hottest part of the courtyard.. I will try that in the morning, unless anyone out there has any other good ideas?
For some reason, twelve years ago I thought it would be a good idea to plant an apricot tree between the fence and the clothesline...
So now I have apricots draped over the washing. When the apricots finish I will need to do some serious pruning.
In other news, the cat hates me. He does not like his Cone of Shame, nor his twice daily antibiotics for the giant ragged tear in his ear. He is now regretting that brief but glorious encounter with the obnoxiously rude cat down the street who definitely had it coming to him..
I hate you. I hate you all.. you will regret this..
Today I popped into the op-shop, and brought some things home with me, of course.
A pile of linen..
..and a selection of homewares for The Girl, who will soon be moving far, far away to study:(
But the best part of the day was when I went to visit the brand new baby of one of my very dear friends. His tiny squished-up face, his miniature hands, the solid fragility of his tiny body, the wonderful expressions that flitted across his sleeping face. I tried to bring him home with me, but was stopped at the door..
The best things in life are free, and the best free things in life are Other People's Babies. Adorable squishiness and absolutely no consequences:)
Are you having adventures in the kitchen at the beginning of the preserving season, or enjoying some priceless free moments that may or may not include brand new babies? Tell me about them. It is eerily quiet around here..