Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Foraging on holiday

What is it with holidays and food? My sister Ruth thought that I was quite bizarre as I made 18 jars of preserved apricots whilst I stayed in Cromwell over the New Year (2010) and if that was not enough I also made Elderflower cordial.

The apricots just had to be done. We went down the gorge to where the old apricot trees from the orchards were and spent a day swimming and picking slightly unripe apricots. The trees were looking pretty mangy this year. It is now about 18 years since the dam was flooded and it is starting to show that they have not been pruned or cared for. But some of the trees closer to the water had been resprouting from the base and produced masses of tiny little apricots that could just pop in your mouth. YUM. Unbenown to us this was to be the only true day of summer that we had.

The next two nights were cold, so what better to do than to preserve apricots. Which I did. I left some at my sisters place and took some with me on the rest of the holiday (yes our apricots are well travelled). The little ones were not worth  preserving or jamming so I put butter and brown sugar in a frypan and caramelised the apricots then , added cream and simmered to a thick sauce and we had them on ice cream for the next two days. (I even sneaked some for breakfast).

Thinking it would be warmer in the shelter of Arrowtown, as we were standing in the old mining town of Bendigo, being blown around. We headed there. Then decided to get back to Cromwell via the Crown Range. Well at the top of the zig zag by the lookout there were elderberries in flower. As Aaron took photos and the boys mucked around I picked elderflowers.
When I got back I trolled the internet for recipes, asked my sister Anna and made something up that was a comglomeration. It worked OK but not perfect and the bottle I opened today was just a little fizzy. But in reading this months NZ Gardener a lot of letters refer to elderflower cordial recipe in the December magazine. So I will go back to that and next year I will try again.
The funniest of all this is Ruth, who thought I was peculiar preserving on holiday, also spent two days preserving nectarines etc with Anna and drove home with cartons of fruit to preserve. I think if the days had been hot and spent at the beach and swimming then this industrious activity may not have occured!!!!

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