Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Friday 14 July 2006

Jam today - Apricots are in season

'Jam to-morrow and jam yesterday - but never jam today'
(Lewis Carroll - Though the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There)

My afternoon has been spent making a small batch of apricot jam. I had in fact planned to make raspberry jam today, but when I visited the fruit farm about three miles from here they did have dessert raspberries for sale, but told me they would very probably have jam raspberries at the beginning of next week - the only difference is that 'dessert' quality tends to be rather expensive, whereas their 'jam' quality remains excellent, but of course is much less expensive because when the whole crop ripens there is usually a glut. However, as I was in the 'mood' to make jam today I initially looked at their gooseberries, but decided against them because gooseberries (I always think) are not quite so popular as some other fruits. In any case I took myself a few miles further along the road to the supermarket where I saw they had some excellent-looking apricots for sale at reasonable cost - they are French of course. Apricots have a notoriously short season and when the glut for that fruit occurs there are usually huge quantities available at pretty modest cost - I recall that when I lived in Paris they became ridiculously cheap for a very brief period, just as I recall happening with tomatoes and strawberries when I lived in Casablanca - indeed I recall that tomatoes, in particular, were so plentiful there for a few weeks that a small bucket full of very good fruits cost no more than a few pennies (less than a Dirham) - the other place where the Dirham is in use is of course the United Arab Emirates, another country I enjoyed living in - of course soft fruits were not grown there (outside of private gardens where money was no object), but Dates were cultivated in a few places, such as the oasis of Al Ain, the home area of the ruling family of Abu Dhabi Emirate. I could ramble on at length about dates, as I've had them fresh in various countries, including straight off the palm tree in one or two places where friends had date gardens.

The photograph is a reduced version of the labels I printed off for today's production - the background photogaph was taken on midsummer eve this year at about 10.45pm, looking over the shore from Nairn toward the Sutors at Cromarty opposite; it was a lovely evening.

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