Last weekend five cageots - lightweight wooden cases - of ripe apricots from Provence arrived at La Chaise. Five kilos of fruit per cageot. It was a collective order gone wrong, some people did not follow through on their orders. A few rotten fruits in each box rapidly contaminated the others.
The theory was that the fruits, picked at near maturity, had suffered from being transported in a refrigerated van and then put in store during one of the Dordogne's erratic heat-waves.
|delicious macerating in best Victoria ironstone wash bowl.|
Emergency jam making was the order of the day. No time to shop for new jam-jars, extra sugar or sugar with extra pectin added. Fortunately I have just acquired a new jam making bible - from the 'Jam Museum' , Museu de la Confitura'.* A major virtue of its recipes is that only half the usual amount of sugar suggested by English language cook-books, is considered necessary. So per kilo of apricots I only need half a kilo of sugar.
|The apricot jam nestles happily with Spanish marmalade and French terrine|
I halved the small fruits and macerated them overnight. By breakfast time the sugar was all dissolved and the fruits looked almost transparent. A little slow cooking to make sure the sugar entered the fruit, then the zest and juice of one lemon, a brief but fast boil - and it was done. Four pots of assorted sizes, sealed with white paraffin wax and a random selection of lids - job done.
And a mind left free to speculate on one of its favourite theories: that transport is the root of all economic evil.