Friday, March 5, 2010

Professional Development

I may have mentioned previously that I cannot pride myself on my housekeeping skills. However, I am quite proud of the fact that I bottle fruit and make jam rather well.

The way I learned to bottle fruit was the simple and functional way that my Mum did it. (Mum, I hope you don't mind that I call it simple and functional). But that's what it was. You boil up the fruit, add some sugar, ladle it into hot jars, fill up the jars with syrup, then seal. It's simple and quick and it tastes delicious, but you don't get that A&P show look, you know?

What was your favourite section in the A&P show? Can any of you claim to have won a prize for your carrot cake? (You know who you are, Nicola). My favourite section was always the bottled fruit and the jam. I couldn't have cared less about the farm animals, but I did so love the preserving, the baking, and the craft items.

One day, I thought to myself, I will learn how to bottle fruit like the jars with the blue ribbon at the A&P show.

Ta da! My friend Sue taught me an easy overflow way to bottle fruit, A&P style. Here's what to do. Have everything ready: clean jars keeping hot in a low oven, a syrup simmering on the stove top (1 part sugar to 1.5 parts water), lids ready to go. Prepare the fruit, place the cut side down on a plate or board to stop it going brown. When you have enough for 2 jars, drop the fruit into the hot syrup. Bring the syrup back to the boil, this is usually enough to cook the fruit. Then, move it off the heat, and put some hot syrup in the bottom of your hot jar. Using a slotted spoon, quickly arrange the fruit in the jar, top up with hot syrup, then seal as usual. Hey presto!
And now for a few little ditties about apricots: Each one looks like a little bum! (Well, someone had to say it). They are native to China. They travelled to the moon on the Apollo mission. There. I think we've all learned something new today.
Posted by Picasa


  1. I used to love looking at the baking, even though it did look stale. I have to say it, 'in my day' they didn't have anything so modern as a carrot cake section, it was all neenish tarts, fruit cakes, scones, pikelets and so on. What always fascinated me in a sort of horrified way were the preserved vegetables, carrot rings and things all arranged around the jars. It was pretty weird. Your apricots would take the ribbon and the first prize.

  2. What beautiful apricots, Miss Smith!!! I love the way bottled apricots gleam in the sunlight.

    And so much more fun that housework - I have just discovered your blog, and it is refreshing! Craft, cooking, baking - all very good, but housework is the pits.

  3. Beautiful fruit Miss Smith! My favourite part of the Shows when I was a kid was not the animals, it was visiting all the stalls and collecting marketing leaflets from the stands. It's hard to believe that junk mail could be so exciting but that's childhood for you.

  4. Dear Miss Smith - I am sorry to hear you have been indisposed and hope you are feeling better. I too loved the free stuff, the stalls and the crafts, baking and the meccanno models at the winter show. I think I was scared of the animals.

    Your apricots look delicious.. They will be wonderful later on in the autumn and winter.

  5. Yes I'm afraid it's true, Miss Smith, I did win the Carrot Cake Section of the Lake Hayes A&P Show in, hmmm, I believe 1999. I rocked the A&P show that year.

    As a matter of interest, I checked out the carrot cakes in the same A&P show this year and they did not look anywhere as impressive as I recall mine was. To be fair, I was only able to glance at them for around 5 seconds, as there were too many tractors nearby for little mr F to really feel comfortable, what with his phobia about heavy machinery and all. But I'm still pretty confident I would have won that carrot cake section again, had I entered.


  6. I hope to see you at the Aorere Flower Show next Autumn where you can show your wares to your hearts delight and maybe even win some money!You have unfortunately just missed the 2010 Autumn Show, however the Spring Show is not far away, and although there aren't sections for preserves, your robots would fit a category (or two) in the craft section. And the kids could enter too!
    PS. You can make your syrup 3 pts water (H2O for science types) to 1 pt sugar for a healthier, less sweet flavour.