Tuesday, May 13, 2008

God Bless the Child

Well, tonight's is a kwik-e post, since I spent all my allotted blog time diddling with the photo in my header. Now you're seeing some preadolescent peaches up there, and aren't they purdy? When I drove up to the orchard last week, Mr. Jones, Sr. showed me the difference between a young peach that had frost damage and one that didn't. Look closely:

Can you see the center, where the pit will form? Even though the fruity part around it looks healthy, the pit is blighted.

Now here's a baby that was higher up on the tree, and therefore above the pool of cold air that settled into this valley that night:

One thing that I learned is that these sterile fruits will ripen anyway--I think they call them nubs but I'll check because I might have made that up--and they get really super sweet. People make jam out of them. Guess what I'll be writing about in August?

Speaking of jam, I've been making jam like crazy this past week after picking strawberries at Jones and also buying them from the Windermere folks and Jones at the MFM and also (dear God stop me) buying some great Mississippi berries at Easy-Way. I'm using the recipe from Russ Parsons' How to Pick a Peach, which I'm pretty sure you'll be hearing about again. You take equal weights of cleaned, trimmed and halved berries and sugar--2 lb. each--and simmer them with a pinch of salt till the sugar is dissolved and the juice is clear, no longer. Add the juice of a lemon or an orange and let this fragrant mess sit overnight. The next day, boil it in 2-cup batches, looking each time for the berry juice to hit the sheeting stage, when it runs off a spatula in a few shiny rivulets rather than one. Or you can put a plate in the freezer for 10 minutes before and then, when you think your jam is done, drip a drop onto the plate. If it doesn't really run, your preserves are ready.

You can just stick this in jars in the fridge and give it to all your friends right away, but I went canning crazy and put it up. (Family members, pretend you didn't see this when Christmas comes!) The jam (RP points put it's technically preserves, since it doesn't have enough sugar!?!) is almost syrupy but has an amazingly bright and fresh strawberry flavor because it doesn't get cooked to kingdom come. Good on yogurt and ice cream, too.


  1. Your photos are indeed super-purdy, and you're making me want jam. Lots of jam. On toast, on yogurt, on a sandwich, on, frankly, a spoon.

    Love the new header.


  2. Thanks! Still trying to get the title to pop out--I need a tech-savvy assist.

    It's all jam, all the time around here; all strawberries, too. We've had strawberry crumble, strawberry ice cream, strawberry-rhubarb pie, strawberries on our arugula salad with and without goat cheese and pecans, and just plain with cream or full-fat yogurt.

  3. I am so pleased that I am getting jam -- sweet sweet jam -- for Christmas! Joy of joys!!! Love the blog... you sure have come a long way from Brooklyn. Purdy, indeed.

  4. I'm so jealous that you have ripe strawberries already, spring is barely here in New England. Eat a spoonful of sticky sweet jam for me. I happy that you're joining me in blogland, it's a happy place and one more way to keep in touch with you.