So we’re back in lockdown as with the previous nationwide lockdown the government decided to “Go early and go hard” apparently there has been a fair bit of shtick coming our for locking down with just one community case of the D variant. a number that has now risen to 210 and over 8000 contacts. This article kind-of sums up how I feel on the subject but I do think they should be relaxing on the S. Is. soon as there are no cases down here. The article mentions that we’re behind most other developed nations for vaccinations but as I recall there was a decision to delay community vaccination when vaccines were in short supply, as other countries needed them more. That’s changed and I’ll be getting my 2nd Pfizer jab on Tuesday, I’ve never had a flu jab, preferring to ride it out, but this one’s a no brainer, as are tetanus and polio.
Last lockdown, I was exhausted and was gearing up to a few weeks of just doing things at home when the lockdown started, so it really didn’t affect me that much, and since then (at least in the South Island) it’s been pretty much situation normal, people have even got back into the habit of greeting with hand shakes and hugs.
This time I’ve had my resting time and there’s something about spring anyway, that gets me feeling motivated to get on with things, this time, cleaning out the freezer. Down in there are buckets of fruit collected from the crazy summer months when what I can salvage goes straight in the freezer, the rest goes to the sheep. Some of it goes back 2 or more summers, and some of that really old stuff will go to the sheep.
Take these plums I don’t know what variety they are I call them ‘Howard Red’ as I collected the graft wood from an abandoned home orchard near the Howard Valley, it was abandoned so long ago that there is no evidence of the house(s) that must have been there once. It’s delicious, deep ruby red and yellow in the middle. It’s no good for preserving as it disintegrates when heated and with near black skin, this year some of them cooked on the tree when it hit 40C in late January that’s hot, DAMN HOT for here! but not the local record, 42.3C in 1973, which also happens to be the nations record).
Anyway I slice the fruit off the stones and freeze them. Now’s the time to drag them out
stew them up and simmer until the pulp thickens
scoop onto trays
and turn into plum leather
While I was doing that, I found random zip lock bags of berrys: raspberry, blackberry and boysenberry, none enough to work with on their own but tipped together and topped up with a handful of frozen red currants
I have found that red-currants make a pretty bland jam/jelly (although the colour is also pretty) but are good for extending some other fruits and for a bonus they make setting the jam a cinch.
Every 5 or 6 years we get a good year for apricots – every year fruit set is very good but most years sometime in November we get a cold snap, the half grown fruits fall off and all the frosted shoots get canker(gummosis). Spring of 2015 was a good year and 2019 was another.
Fruit that develop brown rots get picked early, cleaned up and frozen as a lump.
those that make it all the way get eaten, Tree ripened apricots – OMG, and what we can’t eat get free flow frozen, they make delicious mini ice-blocks in hot weather. Well they don’t really freeze, too much sugar, but close enough.
They too make delicious jam, which is easy and if it’s not cooked long enough is still spreadable.
And finally if you can’t find something to while away the hours in Lockdown, all good Kiwi’s could do worse than heed the words of the late John Clarke aka Fred Dagg