Wednesday, November 02, 2011

The Moments In-Between

My camera is in the closet. It has been there for a while. While I keep thinking that I want to take it out to take pictures of the first Peruvian Apple cactus fruit, of the white shark teeth and tiger claws of the garlic tearing through the earth, and of our beast Indiana-the-dog, it is Indiana himself that keeps the camera in the closet. To him, everything in my hand must be chewed, immediately. So, I haven't been taking pictures, and the gardening I've been doing I've been doing in the dark with a headlamp after the dog has hunkered down for the night in his crate. It's been a busy time, but I'm still trying to fit moments of myself between hours of the dog.

This week, a friend gave me bags of apples and feijoas from her trees. Around here, behind the local Macy's, along the edges of properties, in municipal parking lots, feijoas grow beautifully. They grow in places that pass as hedgerows in our part of the world. This time of year, the feijoa trees drop the dull, pebbly green fruits in piles of egg-shaped beauties under their branches. The fruits release their pineapple-eucalyptus scent even before someone cuts them open to reveal their pear-textured flesh. My mom, who relies heavily on her nose for much of her decision-making, declares these aromatic fruits her favorite.

With piles of the fruit sitting in bags in my house, I set out to find a good way to preserve the fragrance of early autumn in Southern California. Feijoa jam turns out to be perfect; it produces a fruit studded jam that intensifies the fruits' fragrance and tastes fantastic on hot buttered sourdough. It exceeded my expectations.

Thank Indiana for the lack of pictures.

Feijoa Jam
You will need:
2 pounds peeled feijoas, roughly chopped (weigh after peeling!)
A handful of reserved feijoa peels
2 1/2 cups sugar
the finely grated rind of one organic lemon and its juice

To make the jam:
Place the reseved peels in a small saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook for one minute. Remove from heat.

Place the feijoas, sugar, grated lemon peel and juice, and one quarter cup of strained liquid from the peels. Place over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Boil the mixture for approximately ten minutes (it happens quickly with all the pectin from the peels and lemon) and check to see if the mixture has jelled. If it has, remove from heat. If not, continue boiling until jelling point.

Pour the mixture into sterilized jars, place new, warmed lids on the jars, and process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes. If you have any question about how to do this, please spend some time on the USDA home preservation website.


Anonymous said...

Oh, I forgot one other Albert tip. When he was chewing everything, everything, I would run a coat of that Vietnamese hot sauce on the next likely victim and some of the corpses (such as lawn furniture). As I recall, this helped.

As for this post, you've got me headed to Macy's.

ann said...

Pineapple-eucalyptus scent? I can't even wrap my head around that! It sounds heavenly! Much better than our stinking gingkos, and possibly up there with the cotton candy-meets-chanel no. 5 of the Katsura tree.

GS said...

Feijoas make me incredibly homesick for New Zealand. Here in Australia they are a rare treat. Most people have never heard of them. If I'm lucky I can get them for 3-4 weeks a year but due to there rarity they're often sold at a ridiculous price...while back in NZ they drop to the ground because people of sick of them! Enjoy your jam.