Ontario’s Yummy Season is still in full swing but, at this point, we’re coming down the home stretch of Summer. My fridge is full of golden zucchini, roma tomatoes, huge, round Sicilian eggplants, yellow peppers, new potatoes, rainbow carrots, and chioggia beets, along with the last of the garlic scapes, and the first of the garlic bulbs (not actually in the fridge, but in the garlic basket hanging from my cupboard door). My cupboard is filling fairly rapidly with jar after jar of tomato preserves, along with the odd cup of jelly or fruit butter.
Yeah. Right now, I have my slow-cooker set up on my foor, on a bed of old newspapers, cooking down a litre-and-a-half of apricots (plus half a cup of cider vinegar and half a cup of granulated sugar) to what will probably work out to about two cups of apricot butter, if that. We’ll see what the results are when we get it all done some time tonight.
I’m hoping that I’ll be able to snag a few dozen apples off of our various apple-tree-having friends, though Hidden Harvest Ottawa has been pretty good for apple offerings so far and I should be able to get some for no more than the effort that comes from picking them yourself. Apple butter is great as an accompaniment to savoury foods – spread on a grilled cheese sandwich, for example, or thinned out with a little vinegar and used as a glaze for pork, turkey, winter squash, or various root veggies (sweet potato, rutabaga, celeriac, carrots) – as well as a good substitute for both straight-up sugar and eggs when it comes to baked goods (vegans, and friends of vegans take note). Any other fruit butter will do the same thing, though, and my goal this year is to put up more pear butter and pumpkin butter (combined) than apple butter… if I can swing it. The apricot butter currently on the simmer, though, is more of an experiment. I want to see how it tastes, and what it goes with, so that – if/when I can swing buying a house with some yard space attached – I can determine whether or not I want to grow an apricot tree in said yard based on how readily I use the fruit. (This is another situation where putting my dehydrator to use would be a good thing, but I’m dealing with fruit that isn’t readily ripening, so I’m hesitant to put it to use at this time).
Also on the to-do-list for today are:
Another 2.5L of bruschetta, this time in pint jars because I’m running out of single-cup options and I still have my various fruit butters to put up.
Bake bread – Made the dough last night and let it chill in the fridge until this morning. It’s rising slowly, possibly because of the cold and possibly because of the high(er) whole wheat flour content… not sure. Some of the dough will be a (single) loaf of bread, the rest will become the crust for tonight’s New Moon Pizza.
Make pizza: Apple Moon pizza, not surprisingly, will feature (last year’s) apple butter as the sauce, apple-and-sage sausage slices from Seed to Sausage, cremini mushroom slices, yellow pepper slices, golden zucchini rounds, smoked eel (in small slivers, like anchovies), and mozzerella cheese.
Apple moon starts of it’s 2014 cycle by sliding from Leo into Virgo, making this a creative period that calls us to work, work, work – on creative projects, but also on the heavily-producing (we hope) garden and the ensuing canning marathon that comes with it and, for some of us, the return to school and studying after a summer-long break.
Others of us, of course – parents of school-aged kids, or people like my wife whose busy season happens in the summertime – will be looking at the arrival of apples, pears, and the earliest winter squash with relief because it means that there will be less on their plates. Time to restock, work on more personal projects, catch one’s breath, and maybe even have an evening off every now and then.
As far as naming this time of year goes, last year I speculated that maybe I’d be better off calling this cycle “Pear Moon” because of the recent appearance of Ontario pears in the grocery stores. This year’s “Apple Moon” begins almost two weeks before last year’s did, date-wise, but, yes, the pears have just appeared in the produce section. Maybe this should be called Pear Moon. Hm. :-)
Meliad the Birch Maiden.
 This is unlikely, as apples are available for free and, failing that, exceedingly cheap, while pears are a bit on the pricey side. None the less, I live in hope.
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