My husband and I are quite alike in some ways Ė we live in the same house, attend the same church and we each have two children, two cats and one mortgage. There is of course the fact that he is male and comes from Yorkshire with Vikings in his ancestry, while I am not male, not from Yorkshire and have Celts for ancestors. Despite these differences we get along fine most of the time.
However John recently caught spring fever and had a clear out in the utility room. It was hard to tell at first, all his bits and pieces were still there and I still fell over the garden rake that seems to have a life of its own wherever we store it.
Then I opened the cupboard under the sink Ė and discovered that most of my precious preserving jars had been recycled. I admit that they build up at this time of year, but the fruit is forming, onions are sprouting and Iím going to need them.
ĎYouíve got plenty. What do you need all those for?í This from a man who has recently eaten redcurrant jelly, spiced peaches, apple sauce, marmalade and mango chutney Ė all from jars exactly like those that had been in the cupboard.
Fortunately when I came across a glut of cooking apples recently at a very good price it was before his grand tidy up. The rack is now full of jars of apple sauce Ė each combined with a different herb Ė so we have apple and tarragon, apple and sage, apple and rosemary Ė you can work out the rest.
I havenít got time I can hear some of you saying, but it really didnít take very long at all. Just about half an hour to prepare all the apples, dip them in some acidulated water (the juice of a lemon per bowl full) and put in the microwave for 20 minutes with a little sugar and a few tablespoonfuls of the water.
I did make one mistake though, I put chopped herbs in the bottom of each jar thinking I could mix them in later but it didnít work very well. Next time Iíll mix the cooked fruit with the herbs before filling the jars. Perhaps Iím not any more perfect than my husband, but God hasnít finished with either of us yet so there is hope for the future.