Five-thirty came early this morning. And as I laid there trying to figure out what planet I was on, I heard a rooster crowing! In my mental haze, I actually thought I might be in my dream farmhouse on my dream farm! But oh no! That was my virtual rooster alarm on my iPad. Since I don’t have a clock, I have been using an iPad app to wake me so I will not be late for the Farmer’s Markets on the weekends. Typically, I wake up naturally with the early morning light, but the days are becoming shorter and we’re in that transitional phase before daylight savings time ends.
With a full-time job during the week and compost outreach on the weekends, I am past tired these days. So the virtual rooster is my backup just in case. This isn’t a complaint mind you, as I enjoy the Farmer’s Markets, but I can tell I’m reaching my limit for projects and tasks and one morning I’ll sleep past 8, rooster or not! I do have a two-week vacation in the not too distant future and will be heading to Germany. I can catch up on sleep during the flight!
After meeting up with a team member and retrieving the needed gear and brochures, we headed to the market to set up and await the onslaught of people interested in discussing compost. But before this begins, I go off in search of more peaches for canning. So I stop by the usual vendor and ask for a box of #1 organic Elberta peaches. While there, the clerk asked if I would be interested in a box of (seconds) plums. He said they were organic plums from California, some bruised and overripe, and they’ll be excellent for canning. “$5 for the 20 lb. box?” Sold! Then he shows me a box of bruised peaches. Do I want these as well? Sure, why not (I must be insane). For $55, I brought home 60 pounds of fruit. What in the hell am I going to do with all this fruit and how am I going to get it done in the next few days?
After finishing up at the market, I head home and think about taking a nap. But instead, I decide it’s time to make plum jam! First, out go the dogs, and then the kitchen gets a scrub down. The canning pot is filled with water, the medium pot with jars, and the smaller pot contains the lids. I purchased a new food mill today while at the market and I couldn’t wait to use it. So I proceeded to wash, pit and cut up the plums. Next, I tried to press the raw fruit through the food mill until I realized that I had jumped a few steps ahead. This is definitely not my first rodeo, but I had a new toy and I wanted to use it! So I quickly stopped and into the pot went the plums! I put in enough plums to fill three-quarters of the pot and realized I’m not making a dent in this box. What am I going to do with all those plums?
Once the plums were soft, I then put them through my new food mill and poured them back into the pot. When they came to a boil I added the honey and pectin. Next, I filled 10 half-pint jars with honey plum jam. Man this stuff tastes good! After cleaning the rims and setting the lids and rings, they went through a 16 minute hot water bath. The elevation where I live is about 5400 feet so you add an extra minute for each 1000 feet above sea level. The jam now rests on the cooling rack. While writing this blog, I heard the lids seal down onto the jars! No matter how many times I make jam, that sound from the kitchen still makes me jump until I realize it’s the lids sealing!
Now the sink is piled high with pots and pans and all those things needed to make jam. The dogs are curled up under my feet, the cat is stepping on my laptop and it’s time for a cocktail before I begin the cleanup. Tomorrow, the rooster crows at 6:30 for another day of compost outreach! This time, I am leaving my cash and ATM card at home and will put on a pair of blinders so I do not see any more fruit! Wait! There’s still two boxes of peaches!