Quick Stone Fruit Preserves

stone fruit preserves

One pound (ish) of stone fruit (plums, nectarines, peaches, apricots in any combination), one cup of sugar, squeeze of lemon juice, pinch of salt. Bring to a boil for 10-15 minutes until the mixture hesitates to fall off your wooden spoon. Pour into a pint jar, screw a lid on, let set in the fridge. No pectin, no canning, so all-day affair. Just one beautiful jar of jam that will make you want to get up in the morning. And don't bother peeling any of the fruit. After it cooks, the peels will come off and roll up in little cylinders, and you can remove them if you want.

And another poem. One of my resolutions this summer is to read less on my New York Times app (though I love it so) and more actual books. I've noticed my attention span shortening the last few years, and even during a pretty brief, punchy article, I'll scroll down to find the bullet points so I can get on to the next thing. I took Loretta and my niece to the beach yesterday and resolved not to look at my phone. Instead, I took The Power of Myth, Bill Moyers' interview with the mythologist Joseph Campbell. It's been sitting on my bedside table, 70 pages read, for 3 months. I finished it in the sun, and I can tell it's going to work on me for a really long time. Here's a synopsis for you:

Joseph Campbell for Beginners

We have told millions of true stories,
and they are all the same one.

We are born, we die,
and in-between, if we say yes,
we know the ecstasy of living.

Suffering is here to stay,
and so is bliss,
and they grow together
like weeds and wheat,
nurtured in the same soil,

If we pay attention,
we'll hear a call to leave home,
and only those who leave
come home again.

Figuring out meanings of things
is a dead-end.
So why are we here?
For the rapture of being alive.

And if you want to know more,
find the poet or mystic or artist
journeying inside you.
Don't be scared of their light,
and get ready for odyssey.

Advent 2013: Pear Jam

Pear Jam

When you're cleaning out your fridge or your fruit bowl, you might stumble across 5 pears that are past their prime.

Peel, core, and dice them, and put them in a saucpan with 1 cup of sugar. Turn the heat to medium, and stir vigorously the first minute so the sugar doesn't burn. Turn it down to low and cook on the back of the stove for about 45 minutes. It will look more like sauce for the first 30 minutes, then the sugar will start to gel and it will start looking a lot thicker. At the end, you can stir in a little cinnamon, vanilla, or bourbon if you like. I left mine plain. Take it off the stove, let it cool, and put it in a jar. 

There is something nice about making such a small batch and not consigning the pears to the compost bin. There is something about "Making do." You're not deciding whether to make strawberry, raspberry, or blackberry jam. You're making pear jam because that's what is on the counter. Makes me think of one weary family about to give birth and the barn they settled for. Definitely no 10 page birth plan or 4 different brands of pacifiers on the gift registry. 

When I ask my clients about times when they felt close to their team or to their mission, it's always a story of people pulling together in scarcity. I don't wish scarcity or barn births on anyone, but sometimes I need the choice taken away from me so the Divine (or a jar of jam) can show up.