Thursday, July 13, 2006

SUMMER FRUIT

It's been more than a week since I've posted, but I've been busy - the summer fruit season is in full swing and there is so much to do. The luscious juiciness and heady fragrance of ripe summer fruit is one of the reasons that this season is my favorite. Let's start with melons; watermelon, cantaloupe, casaba, honeydew, persian, crenshaw, canary and muskmelon, I love them all. I like to cut them into bite-sized chunks and put them in Tupperware, ready to snack on at any time. Recently though I've experienced melons in a different manner. My friend George (the King of salads) made a mixed green salad with watermelon pieces, olives and goat cheese dressed with a lime vinaigrette - it was really good. This week's epicurious.com features a recipe for honeydew popsicles – I'm definitely going to try them. Then there's cantaloupe granita, and my friend Liz's melon ball salad with a little triple sec drizzled over it. Oh yeah.

Heavenly orchard fruit; peaches, nectarines, cherries, apricots, plums, pluots, figs. Peaches were on sale the other day - that means jam time. I bought about 20 pounds which yielded about 7 jars of jam - about $2.85 per jar, but if I were to buy handmade jam I'd be paying at least $7.00 per jar. One year I went with a friend to Yakima to buy fruit directly from the orchards. I was looking for apricots in particular. I crave a sweet juicy apricot and it seems the ones in the stores are never ripe and then when they do ripen, they're pithy, not juicy. Well, we found apricots and peaches and plums and much more and I was making jams and pies for about 6 days straight. I've yet to make cherry jam, though my sister has requested it. Maybe I'll get to it this year.

Berries are staring to come in and I'll be busy through August. Raspberries are ready now. This year I had white raspberries for the first time. They are perfumey and delicious and they turn a beautiful blush color when they ripen. Blueberries will be next. I always head up to Monroe to a U-pick farm. I like go in the morning before it gets too hot. I can pick about 16 pounds in two hours and I go two days in a row - so I end up with about 32 pounds. I freeze enough to make two pies, then I make a cobbler to take to work, and the rest gets made into jam. My blueberry jam is damn good too. By the time I'm done with all of that the blackberry vines will be heavy with their sweet fruit. Jam Jam and more Jam! The cool thing about blackberries is that they grow wild everywhere - I have my favorite spots to pick and they are all free. My fingers are usually stained purple for a few weeks but it's worth it.

Note: I made another peach cobbler last night. This time I used white peaches, but in the future I think I will stick to yellow peaches for cobbler. The white peach is delicious for eating raw, but it's flavor, I think, is too delicate to withstand the rigors of a hot oven.

1 Comments:

At 12:06 AM, Blogger Mrs. Flinger said...

OH YUM! Peach cobbler. Great idea. And honeysuckle popcycles? Seriously! I'm on it!

 

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