The tomatoes are done! The big order is bottled and safely away. The pantry is groaning.
I love the song Peaches by Presidents of the United States of America. It came out whilst I was in year 11 or 12 – mid 90’s for anyone who has no idea of how old I am or when I went to school. 😉 (34 in case you’re wondering and graduated 1996 😛 ) And since we’ve moved to the country AND it’s stone fruit season I find myself humming or badly singing that line. This time however I will be eating a lot of apricots. And by a lot I mean a LOT! I have 30kgs of those sweet smelling pink and yellow balls of goodness. 30kgs of organic apricots! Nom! Oh, and I have 5kgs of organic white nectarines that are so divinely sweet they’re nearly confectionery (of the healthiest kind) and 5kgs of organic plums that will be ripe in a few days. I will get to sing Peaches about peaches though, just later in the season.
Now if we tried to eat 30kgs of apricots, even between the 5 of us, we would end up with rotting fruit and king sized tummy aches but the plan is to bottle them in my Fowlers Vacola. I’ve got 11 of my #27’s loaded in and they’ve just finished processing so I’m leaving them there to cool until the morning and there’s a #20 with pureed apricots in it for apricot nectar. I’ve also got a #36, which holds around 1.3 or more litres in the fridge as there wasn’t room to fit it in this round. Sadly, the weather today has been a wee bit hot (my car registered 43C as outside temperature although I think it was probably closer to 39C) so I’m not doing myself any favours by bottling tonight. However, since the fruit is perfectly ripe today it needs to be done. I just wish the cool change would hurry the heck up! 😦
I’m no expert on bottling and I’m pretty new to the whole gig – only my 2nd season bottling so if you want to know how to do it I suggest you ask Dr Google or consult a book. Fowlers Vacola have a book that’s written for their system, of which I have a pretty old version thereof and they only difference between the old and new is stovetop or electric system and some of the food fashion has changed but essentially it’s the same.
I sat there this evening, thumb in bum and mind in neutral as a dear friend says, knife in hand, slice the apricot down the line, peel it open, pit out and apricot halves into a bowl. Where there was bruised fruit I discarded the damaged bit (my birds are going to get a feast) and the incomplete half went into Hermy the Thermy for nectar. Apricot nectar is just pureed fruit, skins and all bottled and then at a later date it’s watered down 1:1 and sweetened to taste. Nommy! I anticipate having around 4 litres of bottled nectar which means 8 litres of juice for us to drink. A splash of summer for us to enjoy when stone fruit is just a memory. The apricot halves will be turned into puddings or served with custard for dessert. The process of bottling though was wonderfully mind numbing. Just what I’ve needed. It’s a perfect job to do with friends to have a natter at the same time or like I did this evening, just to completely veg out but usefully. lol
Anyway, looks like I might end up with over 30 jars of apricot halves if I don’t decide to dehydrate some – think I will – and then those several litres of juice. How good is that!
Well time for bed (it’s 1am) as I’ve got a wonderful day of bottling planned tomorrow with a friend. It’s going to be heaps of fun! My jars are packed, Hermy is packed and the ingredients for vegemite scrolls and risotto are packed and ready for lunch too. Just need to grab the apricots in the morning, load kids and kit into the car and off we go! 😀
I’ll post some photos tomorrow.