Happy Summertime ! As the heat rises this weekend in all of California, all our agriculture struggling to stay on the vine certainly comes to mind! My simple garden is a microcosm of what is happening with our vegetables and fruits in the fields. I have been watering like crazy, but still my poor apricots are getting scorched. Last night after the sun went down, I decided to harvest my little apricot tree and can them.
Having a backyard has been a wonderful dream, but I have yet to find the perfect place to plant my tree in the ground. I found some of them on the ground already, and the tree was obviously happy I was taking her burden away. She gave birth to these beauties and now they would be recycled as nature meant them to be. We don’t even realize how abundant nature can be, how fortunate we are to reap her leaves, fruits, and roots, until we watch the cycle of life take place in our very own back yard.
Canning to me is like a meditation in our truth, in our human existence as we share it with other plants and beings on the planet, but also in the joy of building community. As I pick the fruit from the tree I give a heartfelt thanks to nature for all her giving. As I clean and cut the apricot harvest, I think about the bitter sweet fragileness of life. We are here then we are gone so quickly. As I stir the fruit with the sugar I imagine all the joy it will bring to those I share with. As I put the preserves in the jar, I imagine bringing people together to share in a meal and the cycle of life filling us with nutrients from the earth day after day. Writing out the labels makes me think of the pleasing quality our expression in letters can awaken new ideas and hope in each other.
The process is very simple, yet profound on so many levels. Now that I share it with you I hope you are able to share it with others by making your own!
My 3.5 quarts was filled with apricots sliced thin. I added 1/2 cup of brandy (optional and will make it less liquidy), 1 package of pectin, 1 tablespoon or more of cinnamon and nutmeg, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. 2 cups of sugar, 1 cup of maple syrup. recipes call for more sugar, but prefer it with less sugar and more taste of fruit. Also, if you want a thicker preserve add more pectin.
My preserves are more for eating along side a savory, or toppings on ice-cream, or maybe a toast. I used scraps of paper from my Florentia letterhead. Find something you love and make it beautiful.