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Posts Tagged ‘Jam’

The Summer sun, lifting above the trees, illuminated a sparkling cloud of no-see-ums billowing through the roses. Their retreat and advance appeared as breath drawn and exhaled. Cicadas chorused. Trying to beat the heat, the Mockingbirds had already begun their daily tasks, which were many and, naturally, included sampling the ripeness of every fig at the top of the tree.

There is always give and take in the garden. Always a balance.  If it is a game, it is not strictly played fairly by some residents. Weather-wise, this season had the Gardeners one up on the fig side and down by three on the other fruit trees. The summer had produced a goodly amount of figs – enough for everyone, really, but the Mockingbirds love to have the very last warble and often can look you straight in the eye while beaking your fruit.

EPSON MFP image

The fledgling sharpens his technique.

 

Agapanthus was pleased to have worked as part of the team that had rescued figs when so many had come ripe all on one day. Two afternoons of jam-making had produced a reasonable supply. The Fig ‘n’ Strawberry went into the freezer. The Fig and Lemon was properly canned and suitably labeled…a salute to the opposition and a game well-played.

Jam Labels Agapanthus

Hitty Agapanthus labels the jars of fig jam.

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The trees are bearing their fruit;

the fig tree and the vine yield their riches.

Joel 2:22

Morning dawned with stringy gray clouds striping the East – the remnants of a much welcomed rain. The days had been oppressively hot and humid, causing discomfort in the pegs of the Wooden Population and fatigue in the Doggery.  Miss Hickory had become quite an expert in negotiating her way around, over and through hounds flopped lazily on the floor.  She suspected some doggy magic was at work, for they appeared to expand into furry puddles as they attempted to press every bit of themselves against the cool tile.

Having made her way into the kitchen, another hot, busy day lay ahead  for Miss Hickory. The Brown Fig was bearing heavily, and making Fig/Ginger Preserves was the task for the morning; Fig jam for the afternoon.  The gathered figs had been layered together with sliced lemons, sugar and slivered ginger root into the old pot.  Miss H. donned her work apron and dove into the work.

Layers of figs, lemons, ginger and sugar

Steam rose from the bubbling preserves, causing Miss Hickory’s nut head to glisten.  She wiped her forehead with the corner of her apron, then patiently continued to stir the aromatic concoction.  Negotiating the cover into place over the pot, she paused for a moment to check the rows of sparkling jam jars, hot and fresh from their boiling bathwater, standing at attention close by the stove-top.  All was in readiness.

The preserves were ladled into the jars.  Miss Hickory was the perfect size for measuring the head space in each jar, and she took her task seriously.  On went the lids, and into the large pot went the jarred preserves.  Time crawled as Miss Hickory waited for the figs to process.  When they were lifted carefully from the water, she rejoiced.  Her favorite moment, aside from the sampling, had arrived.  She stood amongst the jars and waited. “Pop!” Even though anticipated, the first “pop” of a lid settling into place and sealing the jar startled Miss Hickory.  She laughed at herself and continued to listen, counting the pops and checking the seals.

Miss Hickory offered thanks for this small moment of harvested riches and closed her eyes for a little rest. The afternoon would bring further labor and further rewards.  She was grateful.

Fruit of a day’s labor: Fig & Ginger Preserves and Fig Jam

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