Busy bottling

Dad sent me a text a few days ago, saying friends of his were coming up to Christchurch, so he’d given them some apricots to drop off to me.  Cool, thought I, there might be enough to bottle some of them – I love bottled apricots, and the tinned ones from the supermarket just aren’t the same. So I dug out a few preserving jars in preparation, and made sure I had sugar on hand.
Yeah, I forgot that Dad’s use of the word “some” tends to mean the same thing as when someone says the Pacific ocean is “quite big”:

There were a few cherries, too:

Don’t be fooled by the scale into thinking that’s a small bag – it’s a full supermarket bag.  What makes it look smaller is that those aren’t the usual tiny cherries you buy in the local supermarket – they’re the full on huge cherries grown for the export market, which not many NZers outside Central Otago ever get to sample.

All seconds, of course, but mostly only because of a bit of water splitting or branch rubbing, which doesn’t affect the taste in the slightest – it just makes them not look quite so pretty.
They were perfectly ripe too, which meant they’d only have a couple of days before they started to go off.  So I took a bag of each into work on Friday to share round the team, and then this morning I set to work bottling the rest.

And after a full day’s work (it doesn’t help that my biggest stockpot can only hold 4 jars at a time, so the waterbath stage has to be done in shifts), one broken jar, sticky syrup spread all over the kitchen (including, after one badly misjudged pouring, all through the cutlery drawer), several scalds to my hands and one to my armpit (don’t ask – the fluid dynamics of boiling water are really complex, especially when you’re trying to carefully lower hot jars into nearly-overflowing pots of it – splashes go in strange and unpredictable directions), and an emergency run to the supermarket by the wonderful Mr Harvestbird for more jars and sugar when I ran out and texted Harvestbird in a panic, here’s the finished product:

That’s 16 jars of apricots, and two of cherries.  Some of which will be going to the Harvestbirds in gratitude for them interrupting their weekend to aid me in my time of shortage.  Oh, and miracle of miracles, all but one jar actually sealed!  And that one jar was only a failure because I forgot that I’ve got three jars which are a different type, so need a gold ring instead of the green ones the others take, so it wasn’t screwed down tight enough at the critical moment.  Oh well, just means I’ll have to eat that one quickly… 🙂
And there’s still about a kilo of cherries left, which I’m thinking may have to be turned into chutney.  But that’s a job for tomorrow – I’m utterly exhausted right now!

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  1. oh yum! you lucky thing! I miss home canned goods so much. My grandmother used to have a large garden with many fruit trees so she always had things to can and many years later I inherited her huge copper bottom pot for canning and making jam. It was awesome and worth a lot but not priority enough to make the ditch jump with us so I left it at my brothers, silly move. he up and sold his property ‘as is’ from over here because it was easier for him and gave no consideration to the stuff of mine or Dad’s that was stored there so who knows where it is now. One day I hope to have my own square of land to plant some fruit trees on. Until then I shall live vicariously! Glad you foot turned up, I never quite trust the postal system 100%. Have fun playing with it 😀

  2. Those are so pretty. As yummy as canned goods and jellies are, I was always in love with the visual part. Nothing prettier than a shelf full of filled canning jars.

      1. Are we lunching this week? If so, I can deliver a few jars to you then. Or if you can’t wait, you can drop by one evening 🙂

  3. You will be leaving kitchen cupboard doors slightly ajar, so that visitors will see and be amazed at your cleverness !!!! I am already, and I just see the pics !!

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