Monday, January 5, 2009

In a Jam

Last night I made my second batch of raspberry jam for the season. This is the easiest jam to make because raspberries have so much natural pectin, and one of the nicest because of its riotous pink colour and sweet yet tart flavour.

I weighed equal quantities of fruit and sugar and while the sugar warmed on the rack above the woodstove, I cooked the berries on low heat for several minutes, mashing them and pouring in some water so they didn’t stick.

I added the weighed sugar to the berries, stirring well to ensure it was completely absorbed and then moved the pot to the hottest hotplate where I boiled it furiously for about three minutes.

I tested to see if it was ready by putting a small dob on a saucer that I’d had in the freezer. But raspberry jam sets quickly so I didn’t fret too much over testing. Oh, and I skimmed the froth off too.

The hardest part of making this jam is keeping birds and people away from the fruit. And it's best served spread on a slice of freshly baked bread. Yummo!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

The Cure

This is the time of year we here in Mole Creek suffer from an acute form of hay fever. This condition involves constant observation and discussion of the weather and an inability to make firm plans, and is only cured by a barn full of hay.

Yesterday was the day. We were on standby for the call from the baler and as soon as it came we swung into action. I was in charge of driving and ropes.

We’d discussed and planned the manoeuvre for weeks – who’d do what and what equipment we’d need. We even took torches in case we had to finish unloading in the dark.

Our team of five swarmed across the paddock, and by dark we were already inside toasting our success, the hay barn replenished and ready for winter.

We’d suffered from hay fever for weeks, but as always the cure was actually enjoyable, working together against time and the weather, and now we can relax and enjoy the summer like everyone else. Except maybe for the fire-fighters.