10 September 2010
One of the delights of our garden is our mirabelle tree. We arrived at the house in mid-August and the fruit was falling so quickly we couldn't pick it all up. I have never lived anywhere with a fruit tree in the garden and so felt obliged to make jam.
I felt so very proud of these mirabelles. I did notice that even though the tree borders onto our nieghbour's field there were very few fruit on the other side of the fence. I had a swift thought that perhaps our neighbour came at night to pick up our precious mirabelles. This was swiftly corrected when I saw the neighbouring cows eating said mirabelles and I learnt that our neighbour has 5 mirabelle trees out of the 40 trees in his orchard.
Our closest town, Sens, has several enormous hypermarkets and each one has all the goodies for making jam. I could have bought enormous copper pans, huge rubbish bin size pans, special burners for the rubbish bin sized pans, paraffin wax, jars, more jars, thermometers, cherry de-stoners and funnels. I came away with jars, a packet of squares of crinkly paper and elastic bands and cheating special jam sugar.
Batch 1 - I read in the lovely Jane Grigson fruit book that mirabelle stones always rise to the surface during cooking and there is no need to prepare the fruit. She is a liar. I lost most of the jam trying to take the stones out at the end and had very very sticky fingers. Two jars saved.
Batch 2 - A small child urgently needed her mother at a crucial moment and Batch 2 was burnt.
Batch 3 - FH made this batch. FH was a believer that any old fruit could be used and that stones would rise during the cooking. Several worms were seen floating at the top of his batch. Batch 3 was discarded but this was only after FH had spent 20 mins taking out the stones. FH is never making jam again.
Batch 4 - Fruit was cut and stones removed. Batch 4 seems to have been a success. Four jars made but two given away.
Batch 5 - Became rather confident with jam making process and make plum jam with neighbours plums. Four jars.
So now we have many jars of jam. The only problem is that none of us eat it.